Saturday, 9 February 2013

Mercury Visible Half-Hour After Sunset

Feb. 8, 2013:  NASA has recently discovered a very strange planet.  Its days are twice as long as its years.  It has a tail like a comet. It is hot enough to melt lead, yet capped by deposits of ice. And to top it all off ... it appears to be pink.

The planet is Mercury.

Of course, astronomers have known about Mercury for thousands of years, but since NASA's MESSENGER probe went into orbit around Mercury in 2011, researchers feel like they've been discovering the innermost planet all over again.  One finding after another has confirmed the alien character of this speedy little world, which you can see this week with your own eyes.

See Mercury at Sunset (splash)
A new ScienceCast video previews the year's best apparition of the planet Mercury. Play it
 
Mercury is emerging from the glare of the sun for a beautiful two-week apparition during the month of February 2013.  The show begins about a half hour after sunset. Scan the horizon where the sun's glow is strongest and, if the sky is clear, Mercury should pop out of the twilight, a bright pink pinprick of light.  Mercury itself is not actually pink, but it is often colored so by the rosy hues of the setting sun.

More - Link >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/08feb_pinkplanet/

Source: NASA Science News.

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