Sunset With Mercury and Duck, 9/3/16

How cool is this: For the second time in less than a month, I’ve captured a picture of Mercury, the most elusive of the classical planets. It’s the bright spot up and to the left of the setting sun. Mercury is hard to spot precisely because it’s so close to the sun, and it’s often covered up in the sun’s glare. And indeed, I didn’t see Mercury here with my own eyes — I snapped a picture of the setting sun and found it hanging out there. The camera’s sensor and lens have a much wider aperture than my own eyes and picked it up pretty easily. Also captured: A duck, to the far left. Truly, a fine sunset picture.

21 Comments on “Sunset With Mercury and Duck, 9/3/16”

  1. Very nice! While I’ve never gotten pic of Mercury, I did get to see it through my telescope years and years ago. Only a vaguely round blob because it is so close to the Sun, but still.

    As an aside, that night I was also able to view Venus, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and for too short a time, Uranus. Neptune was also up, but my equipment was too small for the task. Still.. Quite a nice bag for a few hours in the dark and chilly. I could redo that ever night.

    Also.. a duck? NICE! Especially the duck.

  2. Nice pic, but Jupiter and Venus are in the same part of the sky these days, both brighter than Mercury… Are you sure that’s Mercury?

  3. Beautiful shot. I’ve never seen Mercury with my own eyes, or if I have I didn’t realize that’s what it was. And I’m glad that’s a duck; my first thought was that you needed to have your camera’s sensor cleaned. ;-)

  4. Not sure what you’ve got there, John, but it’s not Mercury. Mercury was MUCH further from the sun’s disk last night, and way off at a shallow angle to the left, not nearly right above it as in your photo. Mercury was actually almost directly below Jupiter, but being considerably lower it set quite a bit earlier. If you drew a line from the spot of light through the duck and continued it to the left a couple more times, that would have been in the general vicinity of Mercury.

  5. Is the sun the actual disc in the picture, or is that glare? The disc of the sun is about half a degree; going by that scale, Mercury is less than a degree from the sun. In which case, that’s not Mercury, whose elongation is still over 16º from the sun.

    If the bright half-disc is glare, then yeah, Mercury is in the correct orientation for Columbus Ohio–I checked on Stellarium. Also, I viewed Mercury last night just after sunset from the Atacama desert in Chile. :-)

  6. Nice shots of Mercury! Our weather recently hasn’t been that cooperative around sunset.
    Wanna couple of ducks? A pair of Muscovy ducks have decided our yard is congenial. Aside from NOT BEING HOUSEBROKEN, I find them better neighbors than the neighbor’s orange cat, who decided our yard = his territory, and proceeded to terrorize all other cats and some dogs in the area. He got the hose, until he got the message.

  7. Is it the same duck that blew up the SpaceX rocket? Those with tinfoil hats want to know.

  8. Outstanding photograph, John…buuuuuuttt, just my opinion here, it could have been better with your dog or the kittens or Zeus in it. Maybe the dog on the roof, barking at the duck (goose, whatever), or one of the kittens riding the duck, or … oh, never mind. Outstanding photograph, John; I really enjoy your photos.

  9. Very nice, John! Congratulations for getting such a good shot with Mercury AND a Duck Traverse in it. :-)

    Went on an outing to the Lick Observatory a couple of Fridays ago and had a gander through some pretty awesome telescopes … observed Mars, Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon with the aid of the local astronomers group set up outside the observatory. Then looked at an open cluster of stars about 60 light-years away with the Nickel reflector, and a globular cluster about 23,000 light-years away with the Lick refractor. Awesome space evening!

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