Now is your best shot to see the planet Mercury just after sunset

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Tonight, December 10, 2016, the elusive planet Mercury will appear for the longest period of time after sunset. The innermost planet of our solar system never strays far from the sun in our sky. To see it, look into the western sky just after sunset. Mercury will set about 80 minutes after the sun though, so you only have a limited time to see it.

Mars, Venus, and Mercury will form a line in the western early evening sky. If you are able to spot Mars and Venus, trace the line down to the horizon to spot Mercury.

If you miss Mercury this evening, try again after sunset for the next several days. At nightfall this evening, note where Mars and Venus reside in the sky. Then draw an imaginary line from Mars through Venus and down to the horizon. Remember this spot on the horizon, and look for Mercury in this area some 45 to 60 minutes after sunset over the next few days (through mid-December 2016). If you can’t see Mercury with the naked eye, try using binoculars.

 

Bottom line: With clear skies, it’ll be easy to view Venus and Mars at nightfall and early evening around December 10, 2016. It’ll be more of a challenge to catch Mercury as dusk is giving way to darkness, but look as soon as the sky begins to darken after sunset. And make sure you dress warm! Another cold night is coming!

 

Happy star-gazing!

 

– Meteorologist Pierce Legeion

Pierce Legeion is a meteorologist and digital journalist for WNCT 9 First Alert Weather.

Courtesy: EarthSky.org

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