Visible Planets April 2015 – Mercury and Venus

Planets

I have decided to re-post this article about the visible planets from April 2015.  Kam and I like to look at the planets.  He has asked me how the planets have moved across the sky, so I thought if we keep these older posts.  I just hope that our other space and science posts don’t get lost in the similar articles section; of which I have no control over! Let’s see.

I hope these posts are useful for people, although essentially they are here to help Kam and his mum planet watch.

This is the link for the updated post:  Visible Planets May 2015 – Mercury and Venus and the latest post is for June: Visible Planets June 2015 – Mercury and Venus.

We’ve learnt a little about the visible planets from Earth;  those which we can see using our eyes.  This is the link for that post: Visible Planets.

Of course, as expected we’re not finished, I think we are just starting!

Anticipation, Kam’s next question: Ok, where do we look for the naked eye planets, – naked giggle, no clothes, that’s funny isn’t it, eyes don’t wear clothes – so where do we look for them?

Resisting the cop out and totally inadequate answer – use the iPad. I’m not sure, let’s find out.

So, the task is to find out how to spot the Naked Eye Planets which are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Mercury

Mercury
Mercury

The best time to see Mercury is in a clear sky about half an hour before sunrise or after sunset. It will be close to where the Sun is due to rise or where it has just set.

Mercury close to horizon
Mercury close to horizon

Mercury’s colour will be yellowish, orange or pinkish.  It gets a hue from the sunrise or sunset colourings in the sky.  It will be a pinpoint of light, almost star like.

Planets do not usually twinkle or scintillate.  Mercury is an exception to this.  It’s a small planet and closer to the Sun than Earth.

As we know we can best see Venus around sunrise or sunset, when it is low in the sky and close to the horizon.

Being this low, light pierces the atmosphere at an acute angle.  This means the light scatters more. The scatter causes Mercury to scintillate.

Venus

Venus
Venus

Venus is the closest planet in size to Earth.

It reflects sunlight with a bright silver color. It is the brightest object in the night sky after the moon and is sometimes mistaken for a UFO.  Its the brightest planet because it is the closest to Earth.

Venus is a yellowish, white colour.

Moon, Venus and Mercury
Moon, Venus and Mercury

The best time to see Venus is just after sunset and right before sunrise. It is closer to the Sun than Earth, so like Mercury the sun’s glare obscures it during the day and it is not usually seen late at night.

A Note to You and Me

I’ve decided to split this post into two, offering Mercury and Venus here and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in the next.  For us, there is too much information otherwise, mum can only cope with so much at once.

This is the link for the first post in this section: Visible Planets.  I’ll re-add the Mars, Jupiter and Saturn one shortly ish!

As always, thanks for reading and if you like it, can add to it or would like to say hello, please do so below.  X

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