Jack Webb in Wapiti, Wyoming captured this shot last night (April 29, 2015) of Mercury and the Pleiades, a tiny dipper-shaped star cluster also called the Seven Sisters. Congratulations on catching Mercury, Jack!
Our sun’s innermost planet, Mercury, and the distant star cluster Pleiades are now low in the west after sunset. They’re just above the place where the sun went down. They are easier to see from the Northern Hemisphere than the Southern, because the ecliptic – or path of the sun, moon and planets – makes a steep angle now with the western horizon in the evening. The steep angle of the ecliptic (from Northern Hemisphere locations) places Mercury above the sunset glare.
Look for them early, because Mercury and the Pleiades will sink below the western horizon by nightfall or early evening. They are beautiful. You will love seeing them!
Bottom line: The elusive planet Mercury and the lovely Seven Sisters low in the west after sunset. Photo by Jack Webb.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.