Mercury is quickly approaching its finest appearance of 2019

By | Published: February 15, 2019 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
This false-color image of Mercury highlights the physical and chemical differences of the planet’s rocky surface.
NASA/JHU-APL/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Mercury returns to the evening sky in mid-February. Tonight, it appears 5° high in the west-southwest 30 minutes after sunset.

The planet shines at magnitude –1.1, bright enough to show up against the twilight glow. (If you don’t see Mercury right away, binoculars will bring it into view.) A telescope will reveal the planet’s disk, which spans 5.6″ and appears nearly full.

The inner world is currently embarking on what will be its finest evening appearance of 2019. A week from now, it will appear twice as far above the western horizon a half-hour after the Sun goes down.

For more quick and easy observing tips, check out The sky this week for February 15 to 24.