The planet Mercury has become visible in the evening sky after taking its pass behind the sun. Mercury disappeared behind the sun back in October after appearing in the morning sky briefly with Mars, Venus and Jupiter. To read about that click here. Mercury is currently heading back towards earth in its orbit around the sun. From our vantage point here on earth mercury will reach greatest elongation from the sun on December 28. After that the planet will dip below the horizon as it moves between earth and the sun. So any clear evening just after sunset these next few weeks will be a great time to see the elusive planet. In mid-January 2016 Mercury will reappear in the morning sky where it will join with Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. Five planets visible in the sky at the same time is something you won't want to miss. It hasn't happened since 2005. But that's not all! On May 9th Mercury will transit the sun. The planet will appear as a small black dot moving across the sun's face. Special equipment will be needed to view the transit so don't blind yourself trying to see it. Never look directly at the sun. To read about the 2012 transit of Venus click here. In the mean time get out and enjoy the night sky!
Michael E. Palmer is a writer and photographer based in Alabama.
He can be reached at email@example.com