Elusive Mercury is presenting its morning apparition in the eastern sky following its inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun on 2017 AUG 26. This should be a fine apparition except for observers south of the tropics.
Apparent direct motion in right ascension resumed on 2017 SEP 04. Mercury reached its Greatest Western Elongation of 17.9° on SEP 12. By the standard of 30 minutes before sunrise for Chicago, Mercury achieved its highest altitude of 10.7° on SEP 13. Through a telescope on SEP 13 it appeared in dichotomy, i.e. 50% illuminated like a Half Moon. Prior to that it appeared as a crescent and afterward gibbous. While increasing in brilliance, Mercury will fall to superior conjunction behind the Sun on OCT 09.
NOTE: Event dates in this article are for North American Central Time at those moments nearest to 30 minutes before sunrise for Chicago.