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John

Venus and Mercury: together in the eyepiece

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Loads of clouds around this evening but I got lucky and had some nice views of Venus and Mercury in the same field of view with my Takahashi FC100 refractor.

The Panoptic 24mm gave me a 1.8 degree true field which framed the 2 planets perfectly. Venus thin crescent on one side of the field and Mercury's tiny gibbous disk on the other. I think they are around 1.25 degrees apart just now.

Despite Mercury's very small apparent size I could tell that the illuminated portions of both planets were facing the same way - towards the Sun of course !

No time for images because I was catching glimpses between clouds but it was a lovely sight for those few minutes when they both came into view.

2 worlds, one of them the same size as Earth and 46 million km away and the other 38% as large as our home planet and 161 million km distant. Both basking in light from the star that we share with them.

This is why I do this hobby :icon_biggrin:

 

 

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7 minutes ago, John said:

This is why I do this hobby :icon_biggrin:

 

 

Me too John . It’s thinking about where these objects sit in space that brings a thrill. 

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Great report John. I set up the Skywatcher 150P and first observed Venus with the 6mm Ethos - lovely crescent. I was using my fairly new Altair 60mm finderscope which showed the Venus crescent very well. It also showed Mercury.

Using the 24mm ES68 EP both Planets were nicely placed in the same FOV. I then placed the 6mm Ethos + the Baader 2.25x barlow and viewed Mercury. Mag  281x.

As you say John this is what observing is all about.

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John

Thanks for writing up that post. I had assumed I'd missed the point of closest approach last night due to cloud and the weather here today has not been much better. But I read your comments and sure enough, there was a break in the clouds. 

Broke out the trusty GT81 and a 21 ethos....as you say. a very clear thin brilliant white crescent for Venus, and a pinkish tiny Mercury dot. Upped the mag with a 10mm ethos and the pair just fitted in the field. Widefield eyepieces are wonderful! Upping the mag to *100, Mercury like a tiny Mars with the dust storms. The phase was difficult to discern with turbulence; I had to wait a couple of minutes for a steady couple of seconds. All in all, a magic 10 minutes. 

With both planets so near the horizon, I've never before been so aware of atmospheric refraction/ dispersion. On previous nights I've tried lucky imaging but both planets have had red/ blue ends that won't mix. 

Thanks again, I probably would not have bothered had I not seen the post. 

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Lovely stuff John, thanks for the report, sums it up perfectly. I had five minutes with them in the one gap in the clouds which fell in the right place, using the Vixen Fluorite so probably enjoyed a similar view to you, really nice. Amazing how small Mercury is in the eyepiece compared with Venus.

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I had hope to see them together through the eyepiece, but thunderstorms filled our evening sky.

It's amazing how something so simple to those who dont understand or enjoy astronomy can bring us so much pleasure.

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22 hours ago, John said:

2 worlds, one of them the same size as Earth and 46 million km away and the other 38% as large as our home planet and 161 million km distant. Both basking in light from the star that we share with them.

This is why I do this hobby :icon_biggrin:

I completely get that, well said. Sometimes I get to list-ticking and not really considering the 'cosmic geography' of it all, writing down faint fuzzies in a blase way in my observing book.. then you see something like the crescent of Venus, and realise you're looking at another word, and you can see the direction of the sunlight falling on it, and you see the part where the Venusian day meets the night, and you wonder why everyone on Earth isn't looking at this stuff, so fantastic it is!

Here's my photo of last night. I have a Skywatcher 4" table-top dob in the back of my van all the time, it's a £99 scope and I bloody love it! I connected my Canon DSLR with a T ring and took two shots of Venus and Mercury because they were just out the field of view. I used a panorama program to stitch them together. It's not a great astro-photo as Venus is over-exposed, but I'm pleased with it.Mercury-Venus-Bestsml.jpg.e068ee3fae549cb0babc4cdfa19cb959.jpg

 

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Good report John, you had me sitting next to you with my mak in spirit anyway. 

I had a super view the othr night but they were a long way apart so no chance of a double view.

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