Saturday, February 16, 2013
The planet Mercury, usually an elusive target for observers because of close proximity to the sun in our skies, was in its prime as seen in these images from Friday, February 15, 2013 (top) and Saturday, February 16, 2013 (bottom). The top image shows Mercury at 6:18 PM CST, as seen from near the Christ Community United Methodist Church in Marion, Iowa. The image looks west toward Cedar Rapids. In this image, air temperature was 23 degrees F, shown at -0.56 magnitude and was 9 degrees above the horizon. In the bottom image Mercury is shown above tree branches as seen from Bowman Woods Park in Cedar Rapids at 6:30 PM. The planet, shining at -0.44 magnitude, is 7 degrees above the horizon. Air temperature at this time was 21 degrees. This evening found Mercury at its greatest elongation from the sun (18 degrees).