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Observing planets and stars in daylight

Started by jabiru, 07/11/2008 03:20PM
Posted 07/11/2008 03:20PM Opening Post
Yesterday I observed Mercury transiting at 11:36 a.m. local time. I've often observed Venus, Jupiter and Saturn in daytime but this was my first for Mercury. I could easily see the planet as a little half moon at 80X and up. Perhaps the main virtue of daytime viewing is seeing Mercury at 70 deg altitude, rather than at low angle at evening or morning with its accompanying turbulence. I set up my 12" Dob at the specified transit altitude according to Starry Night, pointed it due South, and waited. Sure enough, Mercury slid into view on time. What surprised me was how obvious it still was when I put on my 4.5" off-axis mask which, of course, means that Mercury is easily viewable in daytime in 4" refractors.

Bright stars are interesting, too, because, if the air is steady, you don't see the flare surrounding the star (although that makes them more of a challenge.) Vega, for instance, is a miniscule, bright pin-point of light. Really gives you the impression of a point source.