Close Approach of the Moon and Mercury
The waxing crescent moon will pass near Mercury in the evening sky on January 25, 2020. Let’s find out what to expect.
Mercury is in the early days of a fantastic evening appearance for Northern Hemisphere observers. It will reach peak visibility on February 10 – but for now, you can hunt for it very low over the south-southwestern horizon right after sunset. It will climb a little higher every day. The optimal viewing time this week is just before 6 pm local time.
The moon officially reaches its new moon phase, when it is completely hidden from view beside the sun, on Friday at 4:42 pm EST (or 21:42 GMT) – so no one on Earth will see the moon easily again until Saturday, when it will appear as young crescent sitting very low in the southwestern sky just after sunset. That same evening, the moon and Mercury will make a close approach in bright twilight. If you have sharp eyes, clear skies and an open horizon, you might spot Mercury lurking only two finger widths to the right of the moon in the west-southwestern sky immediately after sunset on Saturday, January 25. The best time to see the pair will be between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m. local time. You'll need binoculars or a telescope to see Mercury.
Check the stargazing app Star Walk 2 for the rise and set times for celestial objects and their position in the sky above you.
Clear skies and happy hunting!