Mostly clear night skies ahead
November 24, 2017; 5:09 PM
An unusual quiet weather pattern will bring mostly clear skies across the country for the next several days. Also, temperatures will not be that low, especially next week. If your looking for some action in the night sky, start early!
Mercury just reached its farthest point in its orbit around the sun as we see it. This means, Mercury will be most easily observed now. I use the term "easily" loosely. It's still a tough planet to spot. I actually saw it for my first time on Tuesday night. I needed binoculars; it was not quite visible to the naked eye when I was observing.
Look south of due west just after sunset. Mercury is up for about an hour after sunset. You will also spot Saturn nearby, a little higher in the sky. Mercury was more red and orange in color than I thought it would be. But, this could be a factor of it being so low to the horizon, that the other colors of light gets washed out; this is similar to why red and orange dominate sunsets/sunrises.
Meanwhile, I just received a report that AccuWeather Astronomy's Brian Lada was able to spot Mercury with the naked eye from near Philadelphia early this evening! Take a look for it just after sunset through the weekend. Check out Brian's view of "earthshine" earlier this week...
A spectacular crescent moon over State College, PA this evening.
8% of the Moon is illuminated by the Sun, the rest by the Earth due to a phenomenon called "Earthshine." pic.twitter.com/UMZpiBD3X0
— Brian Lada (@wxlada) November 21, 2017
Enjoy your time outside this weekend! Not too many things are free anymore; however, looking at the night sky is still one of those things. Thanks for reading! Just look up, you never know what you will see.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com