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Spot Mercury shining bright at twilight

Through binoculars, you can see the innermost planet as a gibbous disk near the bright star Regulus.

mercury_0206_rs_500

Rick Stankiewicz captured Mercury in the sky after sunset from Peterborough, Ontario.

Rick Stankiewicz
Mercury makes an impressive appearance before dawn in early September. 

The innermost planet stands 7° above the eastern horizon 30 minutes before sunrise. Despite bright twilight, Mercury stands out because it shines brightly, at magnitude –1.1. 

If you view the scene through binoculars, you should see the 1st-magnitude star Regulus 1.5° below it. 

The two will appear side by side on Thursday morning. A telescope reveals Mercury’s 6"-diameter gibbous disk.

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