• Timothy Johnson

Venus and Mercury

Two of the sun’s closest planets Venus and Mercury appear low in our western sky in the week ahead. While both evening planets are so low, after sunset, there is a pretty good chance you’ll see them if you plan ahead. Visit a place like Menemsha Beach, or the West Chop overlook for an unobscured view. Get a clear view of the sky in the west, in proximity to where the sun set and you’ve got a chance. You’ve got about two weeks to see them.

Venus is the easy one and you’ll find it a short distance from where the sun had set previously. Venus appears just above the horizon about a half hour after the sun has set. If you can find Venus, you should be able to see the fainter Mercury nearby.

Astronomers report that the two planets will be closest, less than two degrees apart, on the evening of Friday, March 2. Being so close means the glare of Venus might distract you from noting the fainter planet nearby.

Venus is always the brightest of all our visible planets. This season it hangs low in the southwestern sky and will be there for the next several months.

Mercury, one of the most difficult visual planets, is the most challenging to find. Mercury is always close to the setting or rising sun, always caught in the light of dusk or dawn. And because its orbit around the sun is so short, it doesn’t stick around very long before disappearing from the sky.



Sunrise and Sunset
Day Sunrise Sunset
Fri., Feb. 23 6:26 5:24
Sat., Feb. 24 6:24 5:25
Sun., Feb. 25 6:23 5:26
Mon., Feb. 26 6:21 5:28
Tues., Feb. 27 6:20 5:29
Wed., Feb. 28 6:18 5:30
Thurs., March 1 6:17 5:31
Fri., March 2 6:15 5:2

Temperatures and Precipitations
Day Max (Fº) Min (Fº) Inches
Feb. 16 51 41 0.19
Feb. 17 53 29 T
Feb. 18 40 33 *0.80
Feb. 19 44 29 0.00
Feb. 20 50 46 0.09
Feb. 21 49 44 .01
Feb. 22 49 41 011


Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 44º F


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