Elusive Mercury is presenting its apparition in the western sky after sunset following its superior conjunction behind the Sun on 2018 JUN 05. This should be a moderately good apparition for observers north of the tropics, and should be an exceptionally fine one for those further south.
By the standard of 30 after sunset for Chicago, Mercury will reach its highest altitude of 9.6° on 2018 JUL 02. Through a telescope on JUL 07, it will be seen in dichotomy, i.e. 50% illuminated like a Half Moon. Prior to that it will appear gibbous and afterward as a crescent. On JUL 11, Mercury will attain its Greatest Eastern Elongation of 26.4°. It will begin apparent retrograde motion in right ascension on 2018 JUL 24. While decreasing in brilliance, Mercury will fall to inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun on AUG 08.
Mercury will appear near bright stars on the following dates: Castor 2018 JUN 22, Pollux JUN 24 & Regulus JUL 24. During this apparition it will not appear near any other bright planets.
The Moon will appear near Mercury on 2018 JUL 14 without an occultation.
NOTE: Event dates in this article are for North American Central Time at those moments nearest to 30 after sunset for Chicago.
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