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    Re: Could I have seen Mercury yesterday evening?
    From: David Pike
    Date: 2017 Mar 20, 13:11 -0700

    Thanks for the prompt.  It was a clear evening for once.  We bolted our tea and rushed about ¾ mile to the Lincoln Edge to avoid the houses and the light pollution.  We got there (53.173094,-0.544728) about 18.45UTC 20th March (I forgot my watch) just as Venus was beginning to appear.  After about five minutes we had a sense of something to the left.  My 7x50 binoculars are on TIKI, so we only had pairs of 7x40 and 12x40 from charity shops, which were hardly ideal, but we were able to see both planets quite well through them. By tonight Mercury was marginally high on Venus and to its left.  After a few minutes Mercury became visible to the naked eye coming and going in intensity as it disappeared into the haze before dropping below a cloud bank on the horizon.  I tried to take a photo using a LUMIX FS16 in automatic mode, but only Venus came out.  As I didn’t want to get my knees wet aiming the camera against the only available fence post not sprouting barbed wire, I was firing from the hip, and I suspect Mercury had disappeared stage left.  By then we were frozen, so we came home again quite excited.  One thing I have noticed recently is that one of the best ways to refamiliarise yourself with the navigational stars is to start observing as twilight changes to night, because they begin to appear in the order of their stellar magnetudes.  DaveP      

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