HomeImage GalleryMercury - Venus conjunction June 2005

Mercury & Venus Conjunction: June 2005

 Mercury is the inner most of the planets that orbit our sun. It only takes 88 days to complete it's year and is never far from the sun. The consequence of this is that it is quite difficult to spot. It is only visible either in the morning or the evening sky and never more than 48 degrees from the Sun. From my location the Eastern sky is largely blocked by trees and the West by houses and trees. However to the west I do have about 20 degrees of accessible sky, which reaches reasonably close to the horizon. I have seen and tried to image Mercury on occasion, and had my best success during the Venus - Mercury conjunction in June 2005.

Some Facts about Mercury

Diameter

4879.4 km

Density

5.43 g/cm3

Mass

3.303 x 1023 kg

Volume

6.084 x 1010 km3

Temperature Range

-173 C to 427 C

Atmosphere

Some Hydrogen, Helium, Oxygen

Winds

None

Moons

None

Average Distance from Sun

57,910,000 km

Orbital Period

0 Years, 87 Days, 23.3 Hours

Rotation

58 Days, 15.5 Hours

Tilt

0.00

Rings

None

Composition

Iron Core, Silicate Surface

Magnetic Field

Slight

In May        2003 Mercury crossed the face of the sun. I woke early that morning to find it raining. I missed imaging most of the transit but I did manage to catch some of it visually. The animation to the left is of the last few minutes of the transit taken through a solar filtered, and stopped down, 222mm F8 reflector. I held a digital camera to the eyepiece of the telescope.

Towards the end of June 2005 we were treated to an extremely close conjunction between Venus and Mercury. During this time I got the best images of Mercury I have ever had. I was greatly helped by the conjunction being in exactly the right part of the western sky for me to view and image. With the much brighter Venus being so close to Mercury, it made the planet much easier to find in a bright sky, as a result I had much more time to image before it disappeared behind trees and buildings. I was also blessed with clear skies.
Click the image to the left to see more.