METROPOLITAN SKIES
By Dave Trapani
SkyRunner
S
ky
Conditions
Mercury

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. It is a small planet, not much larger than the
Earth's moon.

Because Mercury is so close to the Sun, its surface is very hot. The surface temperature
can reach 770 degrees Fahrenheit. Mercury has no atmosphere, or air, and does not
support life.

The surface of Mercury is covered with craters, and looks much like the Earth's moon.

It is a rare case in the life of an amateur astronomer that a chance to glimpse this planet is
had with a telescope.  Mercury spends most of its time too close to the sun to be viewed
western horizon.  I hurriedly open the roof to the observatory and snapped these two
images.  My only attempt at imaging or seeing Mercury in my lifetime thus far.  Too low on
the horizon to get a decent image, but here they are non the less.
This image was taken with the Meade LPI at F/20 with the Meade LX200 14 GPS
Click image to see original size
Mercury - 3/29/2004

Image Capture Details

Optics:  Meade LX200 GPS14
Mount: Meade
Camera: Meade LPI
Filters: None
Time: 6 :15PM EST
Location: Waldwick, NJ
Mercury - 3/29/2004

Image Capture Details

Optics:  Meade LX200 GPS14
Mount: Meade
Camera: Meade LPI and 2X Barlow
Filters: None
Time: 6 :15PM EST
Location: Waldwick, NJ
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In the above images you can see the crescent phase
of Mercury.  The reddish tint of the planet is also
plainly visible along with some bluish atmospheric
distortion
.
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