Mercury Sightings - Details for 2023

Mercury has six elongations in 2023. The initial sighting by Joe Stieber for each of these is tabulated below:

Sequence

Initial Sighting Date (2023)

Observing Location

Greatest Elongation (2023)

1

January 16, 6:07 am EST, #77 Marter Ave, Mt Laurel, NJ

January 30, western (morning)

2

   

April 11, eastern (evening)

3

   

May 29, western (morning)

4

   

August 9, eastern (evening)

5

   

September 22, western (morning)

6

   

December 4, eastern (evening)

  

  

Elongation #1

The first sighting of the first elongation for 2023 (the 77th elongation in a row overall) was on January 16, 2023, from Marter Ave in Mt Laurel), NJ, under a clear sky with a one-third illuminated Moon, along with a sighting of comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF). Using Ophiuchus a an azimuth guide, Mercury was spotted at 6:07 am EST with 15x56 binoculars and then glimpsed with unaided eyes at 6:12 am. The comet, in Bo÷tes, was spotted at 6:10 am with the 15x56s, 26 minutes after the start of astronomical twilight. At first sighting, Mercury was at 1░ 03′ altitude, 117░ azimuth, magnitude +0.90, 9.0′ diameter and 24% illuminated. Solar elongation was 17.9░. I didn't try to see the crescent as the seeing was horrible at the low altitude.

Later that day, not too long after sunset at 5:00 pm EST, brilliant Venus, bright Jupiter and bright Mars were easily seen with unaided eyes. A little later, Saturn was picked up with 15x56 binoculars, then seen with unaided eyes. As twilight deepened, dim Uranus and Neptune were spotted with the 15x56s. Combined with Mercury seen before sunrise, all seven planets, plus the Moon and a comet, were seen on the calendar date of January 16, 2023.

The second sighting of the first elongation for 2023 was on January 24, 2023, from Swede Run in Moorestown, NJ, under a mostly cloudy sky (there was a gap in the clouds along the southeastern horizon). Mercury was spotted at 6:08 am EST with unaided eyes. Astronomical twilight started at 5:41 am and the sunrise would be at 7:15 am. When sighted, Mercury was at 4░ 09′ altitude, 122░ azimuth, magnitude +0.04, 7.5′ diameter and 50% illuminated. Solar elongation was 24.0░.

 

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The current streak is now 77 elongations in a row, starting the thirteenth calendar year of seeing Mercury at every elongation (beginning in January 2011). There are six or seven elongations per year. The years 2011, 2015, 2018 and 2022 each had seven (7) elongations, while 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021 each had six (6). That's 76 elongations in 12 years, or an average of 6.3 elongations per year. 2023 will have six (6) elongations. Click here for sightings in 2022. The purpose of this ongoing effort is not to set some record, especially since I have no idea what sort of record might exist. My note to Gary Seronik that was published in S&T magazine (see on the 2022 page) yielded no responses). Regardless, it demonstrates that locating and seeing Mercury is not nearly as difficult as many suppose. It just takes a little planning and effort, although circumstances make some elongations easy and some difficult.

 

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Last Update: Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at 05:01 PM Eastern Time