Mercury’s best evening appearance at mid-northern latitudes occurs during spring evenings. This year, Mercury appears farthest from the sun on April 1. A few days earlier (March 29), the moon helps in locating this speedy and elusive planet. Look to the west at 8 p.m. CDT as observed from the Chicago area. For other time zones, look about 45 minutes after sunset. The crescent moon stands nearly 13 degrees above the western horizon. Mercury is about 9 degrees to the lower right of the moon. In typical 7 x 50 binoculars, Mercury stands just outside the field of view if the moon is placed at the 10 o’clock part of the field. Slowly move the binocular toward the 4 o’clock direction. Mercury will appear in view.
Mars is fading in brightness quickly and appears 11 degrees above the moon.
Link to YouTube video.
For more information about Mercury’s evening appearances this year, see this article:
For more information about current sky events, see these articles:
- 2017 Evening Planets
- 2017 Morning Planets
- Venus as an Evening Star, 2016-2017
- Venus as a Morning Star, 2017
- Chart and Image Collection
- The Venus-Mars Encounter
- Jupiter’s Year with Spica: A Triple Conjunction