The planet Mercury will be at the “greatest elongation point” with the sun over the eastern horizon on Thursday (May 18), “arriving at its highest point” on the eastern horizon at 2am local time in Doha, Qatar Calendar House has said.
Residents of Qatar and other Arab countries need to be far from places with environmental and light pollution in order to observe Mercury – with an astronomical telescope – after its rise over the Doha sky.
It will rise over the Doha sky at 3.34am, according to a statement by noted astronomer Dr Beshir Marzouk. The phenomenon is important because people can observe the planet at its highest point above the eastern horizon over the Doha sky during the mentioned time, he notes.
The elongation is the angle between an object and the sun as seen from Earth. When a planet is at “greatest elongation” (east or west), it is at its furthest distance from the sun.
It is generally difficult to observe Mercury because its orbit is closer to the sun than Earth’s, the statement explains. Chances of viewing the planet improve when it “arrives at its greatest elongations”.
After the planet “arrives at its greatest elongation”, the distance between Mercury and the sun will decrease each night. Mercury had reached its “greatest elongation” over the eastern horizon on January 19, and this would occur again on September 12.
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