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Sun, 02 Apr 2017

See Mercury and the ISS

 Mercury in the evening sky

Mercury (below centre) at 20.50 BST on 1 April from Kent. Click to enlarge. Photo: Paul Sutherland

If you've never seen the planet Mercury, now's a good time to look. The closest planet to the Sun is currently in the evening sky, over in the west following the Sun down. The time to start looking is about 45 minutes after sunset, so go out some time after 8.15 pm. As the sky gets darker, Mercury sinks lower in the sky, so you don't have long unless you have a very low western horizon.

The planet was at its greatest separation from the Sun on 1 April, so by 7 April it will start to become too low in the sky to be easily visible. Don't attempt to find it when the Sun is in the sky, in case you accidentally view the blinding Sun itself.

Spot the Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is currently making a series of evening passes over the UK. You need to get predictions to see it for each day and for your own location. To find out how, look at our help file which tells you how to get predictions, and, just as important, how to turn those predictions into a successful observation! We also have a more detailed help file which tells you more about the ISS and gives further tips for observing it.


Added by: Robin Scagell