I hope you enjoy this short video about the planet Mercury, which you can currently see during late evening, low on the NW horizon. Mercury is also approaching its maximum evening elongation on the 17th May.
Joining me once again is Steve Owens, astronomer at Glasgow Science Centre and author of Stargazing For Dummies.
In this video podcast we discuss:
1. Tips for observing Mercury safely.
2. Mercury’s phases.
3. The surface geology of Mercury and how this reveals tantalising hints about its history and formation.
Stargazing is winding down for the year in the far north of Scotland. Today is the last day with official ‘night’ this far north at 57 degrees latitude (Inverness). Between 1.00am and 1.27am tonight you can experience just over 20 mins of night. By tomorrow this will be gone, replaced by astronomical twilight. And by mid May we’ll have lost our astronomical twilight as well.
Orkney and Shetland have already lost all night and are rapidly running out of astronomical twilight.
The further south you live, however, the more darkness you still hold on to. Around Glasgow and Edinburgh you still have 2 hours 30 mins of night (currently from midnight until 2.27am). And at London latitudes you still have a whopping 4 hours and 20 minutes. (from 10.50pm until 3.10am).
As we head into the summer days I’ll be shifting the focus of the page towards the Sun, Moon, bright planets, noctilucent clouds and the near midnight Sun phenomena we experience during the long days from May until August.
Here’s hoping for lots of clear and sunny skies.
Picture: Sunset over Ben Wyvis from the Bunchrew shoreline.
*Night is defied as the Sun sitting 18 degrees below the horizon (see accompanying picture from timeanddate)
The Torridon is a location with exceptional darkness in the remote western Highlands of Scotland. You can see a preview of my stargazing experience on the BBC’s Amazing Hotels. Near the end I take Giles and Monica out for an excursion under the stars.
Fingers crossed both my community based stargazing programmes will be up and running again by October (at Abriachan Forest and the Merkinch Nature Reserve).
Here’s a look at some of the binoculars I use for stargazing and astronomy, both hand held and tripod mounted.
I’d say 90% of my observing is done with binoculars over telescopes due to their versatility and speed of use. This is especially relevant if you live anywhere with changeable weather, when sometimes brief openings appear in the sky.
If you enjoyed this video and found it useful please let me known and if you feel like buying me a coffee I’d really appreciate that too (link below).
Here’s a short video I edited together celebrating binocular views of our Moon. All footage was shot using a simple tripod mounted binocular setup and captured via mobile phone (so pretty low resolution). I especially love observing the Moon emerging from layers of clouds – something we’re in no short supply of here in Scotland.I hope you enjoy it. Music kindly provided by Rising Galaxy at Cosmicleaf Records