Tonight it may be possible to see the thin crescent moon appear near the distant planet Mercury. The two are close to the horizon right after sunset.
The moon is only one day past the New Moon phase and so it resides very close to the horizon after sunset. If you are standing on the beach at Menemsha and looking west you’ll see the moon amid the glow of twilight for a short time before it sets.
Mercury is that faint looking “star” to the south, or left of the moon.
More will see the moon tomorrow night when it appears higher in the west and is easier to see. The moon will appear directly above Mercury.
Mercury remains the most difficult of the visible planets to spot as it is always close to the sun. It appears either in the light of dawn in the east, or in the light of twilight after the sun has set.
We have about a week before Mercury descends back into the glare of the sun. Mercury is a fast moving planet. While it takes the Earth 365 days to complete one orbit, Mercury can complete its smaller and closer orbit around the sun in 88 days, which means that the planet will appear in the morning sky in about a month.
There is a distant super nova (stellar explosion) glowing in the Big Dipper. Astronomers haven’t seen a super nova so close in 27 years, however it is only visible with a telescope and someone who is knowledgeable to find it.
The super nova, called SN 2014J, was discovered more than a week ago by a group of students and their teacher in a London observatory during an astronomy class. It was found in a galaxy called M82, which is 11,420,000 million light years away.
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Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 34º F.