Try to see Mercury with your own eyes. Mercury can usually be seen with the naked eye since it is illuminated by the sun. Mercury is best viewed with the unaided eye just before and after the sun sets, when there is enough light pollution to contrast Mercury's shadow. The next best time to view Mercury is during a solar eclipse when it can be seen as a black dot against the bright sky.
Do not use a telescope to look at Mercury because it is too far away and will not show its true shape or color.
Mercury has two different-shaped orbits around the sun. It takes 87 days to complete one orbit, but this varies over time due to gravitational interactions with other planets. Because of this, Mercury appears to move across the night sky from east to west and back again. This phenomenon is called retrograde motion and can only be observed from certain locations on Earth.
The best places to see Mercury are from North America, Europe, and Asia. You need a clear day with no clouds in the sky for best viewing conditions. During a total lunar eclipse, when the moon is completely covered by Earth's shadow, you can see Mercury as a tiny crescent planet close to the horizon. But remember, even with visual observation methods, Mercury is always going to be hard to find because it moves so fast through the sky!
Look west just after dusk to discover Mercury. "Mercury will only be visible in our sky for about an hour after sunset before setting. Mercury will shine roughly as brightly as a fainter star." Chris informs us that the moon and Venus may be used to aid in the discovery of Mercury.
Crescent Moon: If you miss seeing Mercury when it's directly after sunset, try looking up just after twilight ends (about 9 p.m.). You'll need a clear night with no clouds or light pollution. The crescent moon will help reveal Mercury because now there is also a bright object in the night sky. It won't take long before you can see Mercury again.
For more information on how to recognize constellations, planets, and stars look into our Universe from Space video series.
Mercury's sky would be black during the day, not blue, since the planet has almost no atmosphere to disperse the sun's light. However, because of its proximity to the Sun, some of that light does make it through the solar system's third planet, so at night the sky would be bright enough to see from Earth.
The color of the sky on Mercury can be seen in these images from NASA's Mariner 10 spacecraft, which passed by the planet in 1974 and 1975. The pictures were taken with red, green, and blue filters mounted on the camera's lens assembly. The colors reveal that much of the planet is covered by large deposits of iron ore. These rocks absorb most of the blue light from the Sun, while most of the red light passes through unharmed. That is why the landscape near the center of both images is dark blue and bright red, respectively.
The only area on Mercury where you could see color in the sky is around 30 degrees north or south of the planet's equator. Here the terrain is mostly smooth rock, with few craters or other features to scatter sunlight away from its path toward the Moon. As a result, much of the light from the Sun reaches the ground before being absorbed, so it leaves behind a yellow-green glow in the night sky.
As previously established, Mercury is one of the five planets visible to the naked eye. As a result, the precise date of the planet's discovery is still unknown. However, it is known that in the 17th century, Thomas Harriot and Galileo Galilei were the first to view it with a telescope.
However, it was not until 1843 that anyone actually saw it from close up. By then, it had already been orbiting the Sun for almost 108 years. The man who spotted it was William Lassell, a British astronomer living in New York City. He was using a telescope made by his son, also called William Lassell. The young man found Mercury while looking at the Moon through the lens of the telescope. He wrote down its coordinates and sent them to his father. Later that day, when Venus came out from behind the Sun, people knew they had discovered another planet!
Today, most people use telescopes to look at Mercury because it is very difficult to see with the unaided eye. Even though it covers nearly half of the orbit around the Sun, Mercury appears as a small black dot against the bright background of space.
The Earth's atmosphere allows us to see far away objects such as galaxies, stars, and planets. But there are many other objects in the Solar System that we could see with our eyes if they weren't hidden from view by clouds or darkness.
Green color Mercury is green and reflects green light. The color of mercury is described as "a dark, dull green". It varies in color from a bright emerald to a dimmer grass-green. The brightness of its color depends on the amount of iron in its core.
The surface of Mercury is covered by a thin veneer of rock debris left over from its formation some 4.5 billion years ago. Most of this material was blown into orbit around the planet by powerful winds that periodically rise into action. Over time, these windstorms have removed most of the surface material, leaving behind smooth, occasionally hilly, regions known as maria (plural for mare).
The remaining Mercury atmosphere is made up of gases such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen peroxide. This gas layer is important because it helps deflect sunlight away from the planet's surface. Without this protection, Mercury would be too hot for life as we know it.
The Earth's moon has a similar size but much less mass than Mercury, so it orbits our planet much more closely.
Mercury is our solar system's nearest planet to the Sun. It is only seen in the early morning, soon after dawn, or after sunset since it is so near to the sun. In fact, ancient Greek astronomers once thought Mercury was two distinct objects. They called the bright object "Phoebus" after its Roman name.
Modern astronomers know that this isn't true because they can see changes on Mercury's surface through telescopes. The dark areas grow and change as different parts of the planet face Earth over time. The far side of Mercury remains in darkness forever changing about itself.
Sometimes people say that you can see Venus instead of Mercury. This is not correct. Venus is always lighted up by the Sun while Mercury appears only during certain times of the day.
Here on Earth we usually see Mercury when it is close to the horizon because it is night then. But on Mercury it is day all the time because it is never below the horizon.
In addition to these questions and answers, students may be interested in learning more about the current state of astronomy.