Mercury will be at ‘superior conjunction’ with the sun at 3pm Doha time on Saturday, Qatar Calendar House (QCH) has said.
The centre of three celestial objects (sun, earth and Mercury) will align along a straight line during the ‘superior conjunction’. While the sun “will be between Mercury and earth, Mercury will be very close to the sun and at its farthest point from earth”, according to a statement issued jointly by QCH director Dr Mohamed al-Ansari and noted astronomer Dr Beshir Marzouk.
The ‘superior conjunction’ of Mercury is an important astronomical phenomenon because it “marks the end of Mercury's apparition in the morning sky”, Dr Marzouk says. It is an indicator of Mercury’s transition from the morning sky (over the eastern horizon) to the evening sky (over the western horizon).
Mercury “will rise in the Qatar sky at the time of sunrise and both celestial bodies will set together (approximately), and it will be very hard to observe Mercury Saturday", Dr Marzouk explains.
People in Qatar will be able to observe Mercury over the western horizon after around two weeks from the ‘superior conjunction’, adding that the gap between the setting time of Mercury and sunset will increase over the next few weeks, the statement notes.
The next ‘superior conjunction’ of Mercury with the sun will be on June 6, QCH has said.
There are two types of conjunction: ‘inferior’ and ‘superior’. While the ‘superior conjunction’ pertains to all planets in the solar system, an ‘inferior conjunction’ only involves two planets - Mercury and Venus, the statement adds.
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