Elusive Mercury is presenting its morning apparition in the eastern sky following its inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun on 2017 APR 20. This should be a poor apparition for observers north of the tropics, but a better one one for those further south.
Apparent direct motion in right ascension resumed on 2017 MAY 02. Mercury reached its Greatest Western Elongation of 25.8° on MAY 18. Through a telescope on MAY 23 it appeared in dichotomy, i.e. 50% illuminated like a Half Moon. Prior to that Mercury appeared as a crescent and afterward gibbous. By the standard of 30 minutes before sunrise for Chicago, it achieved its highest altitude of 4.2° on MAY 25. While increasing in brilliance, Mercury will fall to superior conjunction behind Sun on JUN 21
Mercury will not appear near other bright planets during this apparition. It will appear near the stars Alcyone (Pleiades) 2017 JUN 07, Aldebaran JUN 11.
NOTE: Event dates in this article are for North American Central Time at those moments nearest to 30 minutes before sunrise for Chicago.