Monday, March 10, 2014

Mercury, The Moon, And Clam Bayou

I have been told that today (Feb. 1) is a good day to see the planet Mercury, which will rise directly beneath the Moon 60 minutes to 70 minutes after dusk/sunset.  Mercury is called the "elusive" planet because it is the most difficult one to see out of the 5 bright planets.  Conditions have to be favorable and because of its speed (Romans named it Mercury to reflect its speed) it is not visible for long.  

The Clam Bayou is a wonderful place to see the night sky so with camera in hand we take off prior to sunset to be ready for an opportunity to see the planet closest to the sun.   



Sunset on February 1st at Clam Bayou.  



A blue heron more interested in supper rather than the planet Mercury.




A jet streaks under the just visible new moon.*



A flash enabled picture showing two different types of birds.  The one in front is obvious - see the other one across the creek sitting on the log?



And as nighttime falls on the Bayou...


…hunters continue their quest.


No cloud cover for the first time in days should make it a good time to see Mercury.  But the window is short. 



There's the Moon...


…And there is Mercury.





Mercury is just rising above the trees underneath the Moon.  It won't stay visible for long because it is reflected by the Sun which because of both of their positions, and Mercury's orbit, will soon fade from visibility.   I can't help but marvel at the wonders of the universe, and my little square box. 

*For you sharp readers who noticed that the early pics of the moon are obviously a crescent, and then looks to be a full moon in the last few pictures, there is a logical reason.  The first crescent pictures were snapped in 1/64ths of a second, while the latter pics were timed for 5 seconds.  This makes what light there is from the unseen portions of the moon brighter, thus making the moon appear full.  

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