• Timothy Johnson

Front Runner Mercury

You have a wonderful opportunity to spot Mercury low in the southeastern sky Saturday morning and you’ll get a lot of assistance by his friends. A thin crescent moon appears right above Mercury. Plus, the bright planet Venus appears to the right of the two. The three make up a perfect little triangle.

So few have seen Mercury. It is the most difficult of visual planets to spot and not because it is faint. Mercury is bright enough to see easily. The hardship in seeing this planet is its proximity to the sun. Mercury is always close to the horizon whether in the morning at sunrise or evening at sunset.

Saturday morning’s triangle couldn’t make Mercury easier to see. Venus of course is the brightest planet in our sky. At times, Venus is so bright it looks like an airplane approaching an airport with its landing lights on. The moon needs no introduction. The crescent moon is thin and regal in appearance amid the first light of dawn.

Mercury is about the same distance from us as the sun, 93 million miles. It is the closest planet to the earth right now. In a planetary race, Venus comes in at a close second. Venus is 120 million miles away. For purposes of comparison, the red planet Mars is 127 million miles away, giving it a position of third place.

That is a pretty close assembly of planets, but Mars is a good deal higher in the eastern sky at dawn. These three are all morning planets, along with Saturn which is between Mars and Venus.

Jupiter

The brightest planet and the only planet in the evening sky, you can’t miss Jupiter coming over the eastern trees around 10 p.m.


 

Sunrise and Sunset
DaySunriseSunset
Fri., Feb. 56:495:01
Sat., Feb. 66:485:03
Sun., Feb. 76:475:04
Mon., Feb. 86:465:05
Tues., Feb. 96:455:07
Wed., Feb. 106:445:08
Thurs., Feb. 116:425:09
Fri., Feb. 126:415:10

Temperatures and Precipitation
DayMax (Fº)Min (Fº)Inches
Jan. 294230T
Jan. 3044290.00
Jan. 3148350.00
Feb. 152410.00
Feb. 254340.00
Feb. 350290.00
Feb. 454430.86

*melted precipitation

 

Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 43º F

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