Updated 11:31 PM EST, Wed, Feb 26, 2020

Mercury Visible This October: Here's How To Spot The Planet!

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The planet Mercury is going to be visible here on earth in the month of October, and it's going to be magnificent.

According to CBS News, over the next three weeks, the eastern twilight skies will be graced by three bright planet: Jupiter, Mars, and Venus --- and Mercury, which is usually shy and elusive and very hard to spot, will be joining them.

UPI has noted that Mercury's appearance is similar to that of Venus, which is closely aligned with the sun. In the next few weeks, it will rise each morning in the east as well, and will linger for only 30 to 45 minutes before the rays of the sun will overpower it.

So how can you spot the planet Mercury?

Set your alarm for 5:45 am, and look out the eastern horizon --- a yellowish-orange star-like body in the sky.

It has also been mentioned that Mercury will become brighter and brighter as October ends, and my October 30, it will be brighter than the rest of the stars in the sky. Joe Rao reported, "Mercury will appear side-by-side with the bluish first magnitude star Spica, in Virgo. Spica, however, will be only appear about one-sixth as bright as Mercury, so you'll probably need binoculars to spot it."

Don't expect to see a whole planet, though. The Space Reporter noted that like the Moon and Venus, Mercury will also go through a cycle of phases, beginning with a thin crescent at the beginning of the month, and will brighten as more of the planet is illuminated by light. It will brighten to up to -1.0 magnitude, making it appear brighter than every other star other than Sirius in the night sky.

A fun fact about Mercury: CBS News noted that in the pre-Christian era, the planet has two names. It is called Mercury when seen in the evening sky, and Apollo if it appears in the morning. It was only in the fifth century BC when Pythagoras noted that Mercury and Apollo were one and the same.

Mercury rotates on its axis once every 59 Earth days, but can orbit the sun in 89. With its position so near to the sun (only 36 million miles away) and its lack of atmosphere, it receives and releases heat pretty fast and has the most extreme temperature variations in our solar system, ranging from 900 degrees F when facing the Sun and -300 degrees F when it's facing away.

Oh, and if four planets isn't amazing enough for you, here's another tip: For hardcore sky-gazers, Saturn will also appear in the evening twilight, with Space.com reporting that on October 16, Saturn "crosses over into the boundaries of Scorpius, having spent the late spring, summer and early fall in Libra."

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