Mercury A to Z: Year of Mercury Watching

Hello, friends!  For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I decided to talk about the planet Mercury.  I wasn’t sure at first if I’d be able to do a whole alphabet’s worth of posts about this one planet, but at this point, I think I just might pull it off!  In today’s post, Y is for:


My original plan for this post was to talk about Mercury’s year.  It’s 88 Earth days long, which (oddly enough) is only half the length of Mercury’s solar day.  That’s because of a spin-orbit resonance, sidereal rotation, yada yada… we’ve already talked about this stuff.  So instead, today I want to talk about the rest of this year here on Earth and tell you when the best opportunities to see Mercury will be.

The best time to see Mercury is during an “elongation,” which is when Mercury (as viewed from Earth) is as far away from the Sun as he can get.  To say that another way, if you drew an imaginary line between Mercury and the Sun, elongation is when that line would be at its longest.

Some elongations end up being a little higher (or should I say longer?) than others.  This is because of Mercury’s highly elliptical (non-circular) orbit.  The highest elongation of Mercury this year occurred on April 11.  I wish I’d known that earlier this month, because I definitely would have mentioned it.  Anyway, the next elongation will occur in the morning on May 29, 2023.  After that, there will be an elongation in the evening on August 10.  Another elongation will occur on the morning of September 22, and another will be on December 4.

Don’t worry too much about the specific dates.  You’ll still get a pretty good view of Mercury a few days before and after an elongation occurs.

I have only seen Mercury two times in my life that I know of.  I recently learned, however, that Mercury is known to twinkle like a star, so I may have seen him many times without recognizing him as a planet.  After all the Mercury research, Mercury writing, and Mercury artwork I’ve done for this year’s A to Z Challenge, I am very eager to get out there and see Mercury again (even if it means getting up before sunrise on or around May 29).


I found the dates for upcoming elongations of Mercury in this article from  The article also goes into a little more detail about how elongations work.

#IWSG: The Planets Make Me Write

Hello, friends!  Welcome to another meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a monthly blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosted this month by SE White, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguire, Joylene Nowell Butler, and Jacqui Murray.  To learn more about this amazingly supportive group, click here!

I read somewhere once that every writer has a “thing”—something that they’re desperately trying to say.  It’s something that’s hard to put into words, a feeling or an idea that defies the conventional use of language.  If this “thing” could be said in a simple and straightforward way, we writers would just say it and move on rather than spend the bulk of our lives writing.

What is that “thing” for me?  I wish I could tell you!  It would be so much easier if I could just tell you the “thing” that keeps poking at my mind, but of course I can’t.  All I can say is that my thing has something to do with the stars.  It has something to do with the slow and stately motion of the planets.  It has something to do with that feeling I get whenever I look up at the nighttime sky.

Is it curiosity?  A sense of wonder at the vastness of the cosmos?  I guess that’s part of it, but those words feel wholly inadequate.  Wonder and curiosity are nice, but there’s something more.  There’s so much more!  The planets and stars inspire something in me that simply must be said—something that must be put into words, no matter what—it must be!

But no words ever seem to express this “thing” well enough.  So I keep trying.  I keep writing, in the hope that maybe someday I’ll find a way to say the thing I don’t know how to say, and maybe somebody else will read my words and understand what I’m talking about.

So, friends, do you have a “thing” that you’re trying to say through your writing?  Care to give us a clue (if you can) about what your “thing” might be?