Mercury Visible After Sunset

NASA’s Mercury MESSENGER spacecraft is preparing to insert itself into orbit tonight, Mar. 17. While you may not have a seat, you can still see Mercury tonight after sunset from the comfort of planet Earth.

Close-up image of a portion of Mercury’s surface, captured on a MESSENGER fly-by
on Oct. 6, 2008. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/
Carnegie Institution of Washington)

The key to seeing Mercury is having an unobstructed view of the horizon in the sunrise or sunset direction. You should look for Mercury about 30 to 40 minutes after sunset, as soon as the sky begins to darken.

For more viewing information about Mercury and other skywatching opportunities, visit:

Keep up on the latest progess of Mercury MESSENGER at NASA’s MESSENGER mission page:

and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Website:


9 thoughts on “Mercury Visible After Sunset”

  1. Just finished watching the Messenger live webcast… stupidest thing I have ever seen coming from NASA. Instead of showing the actual event, which, yes, would have been the doppler data and the actual mission control room, we got to see a bunch of videos made for little kids and endless self congratulatory speeches by the moderator and different aparatchicks.

    Seriously, people… WHO CARES?

    And what’s the idea of having someone re-tell the events of the orbit insertion instead of actually showing it? Is that the new way of teaching science to the masses? Do it behind a curtain and then have somebody who has seen it show up and talk about it for three minutes?

    You may have, by the way, noticed that by the time the actual event was over, many viewers were already gone…

    I love NASA and I am all for giving you more money. BUT PLEASE, please, folks, stop wasting it on media events like these.

    Show us the real thing and stop pretending that we are too stupid to understand what we you are doing there.

    Because, you know, there are millions of us out here who have actual interest in you who are not.

    Or maybe you are just too busy trying to find intelligent life in the universe to notice that it’s right here, at the other end of your live feeds?

  2. Maybe the positions of the pyramids of the Mayans will tell us about the coming of the mass object “NIBIRU”;maybe when the pyramids aligned with Mar’s similar structure that would be the signal that the object can now be seen by the naked eyes……….i’m wondering if there’s already been a report that those similar structures have aligned…

  3. Dear Sir/Madam
    i’ve wrote many articles about the planet nibiru, which will be crash to earth within 2012, kindly inform me about this matter (it is true or just hoax), thank you.

    warmest regards,

    Andre Ardhani

  4. (i’ve wrote many articles about the planet nibiru, which will be crash to earth within 2012, kindly inform me about this matter (it is true or just hoax), thank you.)

    As I’ve researched, Nibiru or planet X whatever you choose to call it, will not crash to earth, but that its orbit around the sun brings it close enough to the earth, which due to its size (2-4X the size of Jupiter) will have a large affect on the earth due to magentic forces. If this is true, the planet or star will eventually be so visible that it can’t be hiiden from fact.

  5. Dear astronomer friends,

    I wonder if someone of you could suggest me a web site or page, or perhaps a book legible on the Internet, that would give me examples of first visibilities of certain major stars related to the Sun’s position below the horizon. Since “universal time”, “ephemeris time”, “local time” or “time zones” [let alone “sunlight saving time” that is decreed by politicians] seem confusing for me, I would prefer altitudes instead of observation times. For a “blind guess” example, “When the Sun was 14 degrees and 25 minutes below the horizon, I sighted the Spica first at an altitude of +2 degrees.”

    Also, in general, I have difficulties with the term “sunset” or “sunrise.” What is the exact moment of them? Is the moment of sunrise when the upper point of the Sun’s disk reaches the horizon, taking in consideraltion of the refraction factor as well? (Which is not a standard value but varies.) Or, rather, the true moment of sunrise is when the Sun’s centre would be exactly on the [mathematical?][virtual, considering the refraction?] horizon? I guess that the local topography has nothing to do with the exact times used by astronomers.

    Thank you for your kind assistance. I apologize for not being an astronomer, only land surveyor.


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