Society for Popular Astronomy

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Author:  RMSteele [ Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:10 am ]
Post subject:  Mercury

Melbourne, Aus. 2019 June 16 0730 UT. 102mm maksutov x130, seeing Ant IV Evening twilight. Mercury first swept up in rapidly fogging-up 8x40 binoculars, a pale spark above the black silhouetted branches of a bare winter tree. In the mak at x130 Mercury was frequently distinct in the comings and goings of the seeing, very close to dichotomy - I estimated the phase at 55% by eye (very close to the tabulated value of 54%), concluding that there appears to be no phase anomaly with Mercury. At 7 arcsecs apparent diameter the disc was featureless and colourless (a similar tone to the lunar highlands). Kind thoughts, Bob

Author:  mike a feist [ Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

I managed to locate Mercury on the 8th June 2019 at 2140 - 2231 BST during a cold evening with a clear NW clear sky but with a bit of "brown murk" near the horizon. The SE sky was a mass of cumulus clouds which, towards the end, were tinted blood-red. I used a 10x50 Minolta binocular, handheld, from the Park and followed until it set far in the NW . (Obs.#522)
Since then nothing, the weather bring absolutely 'orrible!! Bob's Australian report rather perked me up a bit and I thought that I would post this here. Regards maf.

Author:  mike a feist [ Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

Mercury & Mars: 17/06/19: 2155 - 2225 BST: Full Moon very murky and red rising in the SE. The NW sky with lots is narrow bands of horizonal cloud with gaps. Went to the park with Olivon 22-36x50 spotter on light tripod. Scanning above the distant hills, almost immediately located Mercury and then then Mars, at 2155 BST. Then lost...then refound few minutes later due to cloud movement. This continued intermittently until the final view was had at 2225 BST, when they were about half the field of view above the horizon. Mercury was much brighter than Mars, Mars was v slightly below Mercury and they they were separated by about one sixth of the field of view. Mercury was to the right and Mars to the left. (Mercury Obs.#523). Regards maf

Author:  RMSteele [ Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

Good one Mike, I haven't had clear skies to the north west since the 16th. Tried last evening but thin cloud hid the planet - the thinnest veils hide Mercury. I was out on the street, sweeping with the telescope when an Asian lady wrestled a pushchair up on the pavement next to me and asked me what I was looking for. I told her and she said she would "dump the kid" and come back! It was a no-show for both parties though and I went in. Cool, cloudy and rainy here. Bob

Author:  Paul Freeman [ Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

Similar conditions here in North Essex Mike. I managed to spot Mercury and Mars at 10:15pm last night through a gap in low cloud from across the village green (Az around 300 degrees) with my 10x50 binos. Very pleased to have seen it. I'll try again tonight as they will be at their closest. However according to the forecast the weather is not going to be too kind. Paul F.

Author:  mike a feist [ Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

Mercury & Mars seen again. 20/06/19: 2210-2214 BST: Troublesome clouds retreated for a while, so went to the Park with Olivon 12-36x50 spotter on a light tripod. Managed to pick out Mercury above the horizon cloud bank, and then Mars. Mercury up to the left, Mars down to the right and separated by a little less than half the x12 fov. Mercury much brighter than Mars. Soon lost into the bank of cloud. Regards maf.

Author:  Paul Freeman [ Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

No chance here in North Essex, far too cloudy! Same tonight by the looks of thongs.
Paul F

Author:  mike a feist [ Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

Mercury & Mars again. 21/06/19: 2210-2215 BST: Sky mostly clear except for some "browning" near the NW horizon and s patch of delicate 'ripple cloud" in the NE. Mercury and Mars soon located as before from the Park with the Olivon scope. Now just over half a x12 fov apart with bright Mercury to the left and fainter Mars to the slightly lower right. About a fov above the hills. (For the second time was joined by a bat flitting around ). Regards maf.

Author:  jeff.stevens [ Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

Lovely observations, Mike. I’ve yet to see Mercury on this apparition.

Best wishes, Jeff.

Author:  RMSteele [ Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

2019 June 23 0755 UT. 102mm maksutov x130, seeing Ant IV - III (in moments). Melbourne, Australia. Picked up with 8x40 binoculars over the tree line at a busy road junction. The limb, terminator and cusps were well defined at moments of better seeing. The phase was easily visible and I estimate it by eye at 45%. Tabulated phase 41%, disc diameter 8 arcsecs. I suspected the Southern Hemisphere might be slightly brighter than the north part of the disc. Three people and two dogs stopped for a look. Kind thoughts, Bob

Author:  RMSteele [ Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

2019 June 24 0735 UT. 102mm maksutov x130, seeing Ant IV - III. Melbourne, Australia. The seeing was a bit steadier this evening and the planet is now high enough in the evening sky to allow observation just outside our apartment instead of the busy spot a few hundred yards away. Mercury was well defined in steadier moments and the terminator, limb and cusps were evenly illuminated, although I suspected that the south preceding limb was slightly brighter than the rest of the creamy hued disc. I estimated the phase at 37% by eye (tabulated value 37%). Disc still about 8 arcsecs. Kind thoughts Bob

Author:  RMSteele [ Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

2019 June 25 0715 UT. 102mm maksutov x40, x130, x260. Seeing IV - III (momentarily). Melbourne, Australia. I swept up the planet in very bright twilight at x40. Bright and distinct at that power, though tiny, the phase was clearly visible. The sky was bright enough to attenuate glare and the seeing steady enough in moments to try x260. At that power I estimated the phase by eye at 34% (tabulated value 36%). The disc diameter was 8.5 arcsecs. The terminator was evenly shaded. The cusps were equally bright and regular. The limb, however, gave the strong impression of being unevenly bright along its length, brightest along the south preceding arc, with a smaller smudge of brightness on the north preceding arc. I stress that this was no more than suspected in the conditions and, as twilight grew dimmer “traffic-lighting” forced me to change down to x130. At that power, there was merely a suspicion of a brighter south preceding limb.
Kind thoughts, Bob

Author:  RMSteele [ Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

Hello, last observation from Melbourne, Australia. 2019 June 26 0745 UT. 102 mm maksutov x40 x130. Seeing Ant IV. I was joined by my son Steven. We thought we picked up Mercury pretty quickly but soon realised it was a bright star, probably Achernar (I shall check that later). Next, Mars in twilight, a tiny rust spot on the gray sky. Then on to Mercury. I estimated the phase at 33% by eye (tabulated value 34%). The disc was just over 8.5 arcsecs. The limb, terminator and cusps all looked regular. No other features noted. Observation terminated as the taxi for the airport was due in half an hour. Typed up in Tullamarine departures. Kind thoughts, Bob

Author:  jeff.stevens [ Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

Lovely series of observations, Bob.

Best wishes,


Author:  RMSteele [ Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mercury

Jeff, to tell the truth I've never had so many consecutive telescopic views of Mercury at any elongation. The sky and horizon Downunder were kind to me. I made an eyepiece sketch on the 25th and I shall do a decent rendering of the view then for the images page. Bit pooped and busy at the moment because we've just got back to Leeds. Regards, Bob

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