Physics Photo of the Week
planet Mercury is a challenge to see, but is now visible in the
pre-dawn eastern sky. You have to get up and be looking near the
eastern horizon by 6:00 am.
Mercury is the visible as a "star" in the lower center of the
image. The bright star Regulus in Leo is visible in the upper
center. If it weren't for the twilight glow Mercury would be
appear brighter than Regulus - a "major" star. Because of
Mercury's closeness to the Sun as the innermost planet, it never
appears very far from the Sun in the sky - thus it is always immersed
in the twilight glow of the Sun, and often obscured by lo-altitude haze
and clouds. As a result Mercury is quite difficult to see.
Mercury will next be visible in the early evening after sunset in late
November-Early December. The Warren Wilson campus has many
locations where the western horizon is noticeable (Dogwood Ridge,
Spidel for example), but the Sun will set very early (around 5:10 pm in
Western North Carolina) making the optimal times to view Mercury
between 6:00 and 6:30 pm.
Check out a previous image of Mercury on Physics
Photo of the Week published on February 16, 2007.
The colors may appear a bit over-saturated in this photo. That is
because of extensive contrast enhancements in order to make Mercury and
Regulus visible on the computer screen.
Photo of the
published weekly during the academic year on Fridays by the Warren
Wilson College Physics
Department. These photos feature interesting phenomena in
the world around us. Students, faculty, and others are invited to
submit digital (or film) photographs for publication and
explanation. Atmospheric phenomena are especially welcome.
Please send any photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All photos and discussions are copyright by Donald
Collins or by the person credited for the photo and/or
discussion. These photos and discussions may be used for private
individual use or educational use. Any commercial use without
written permission of the photoprovider is forbidden.
to see the Physics Photo
the Week Archive.
Observers are invited to submit
digital photos to: