Solar System Bodies: Mercury · Astrological definition of Solar System Bodies: Mercury · Astrology Encyclopedia  ·  March 1, 2024, 6:35 GMT
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Solar System Bodies: Mercury

Solar System Bodies: Mercury - Astrology Encyclopedia

Definition of Solar System Bodies: Mercury A small planet, with pale bluish light; the planet closest to the Sun. Never more than 28 degrees from the Sun, it is rarely visible to the naked eye. The Roman god Mercury and the Greek god Hercules, the winged messenger of the Gods, were endowed with the qualities that are associated with the influence of the planet Mercury. To the Chaldeans it was Nebo, the planet of warning; also associated with Buddha, the wise.

Ancient astrologers considered the existence of a planet nearer to the Sun than Mercury, to which they gave the name Vulcan. It has not as yet been discovered by astronomers.

From a stationary point about 28 in advance of the Sun, it retrogrades to an inferior conjunction with the Sun - after which it becomes a "morning star," visible on the Eastern horizon shortly before Sunrise. From a stationary point about 20 behind the Sun, it advances by direct motion to a superior conjunction with the Sun - after which it becomes an "evening star," visible on the Western horizon shortly after Sunset.

As with the Moon, and all satellites with reference to the planet around which they revolve, Mercury always turns the same face toward the Sun, except for a libration of 23 7' in both directions: making a 47 zone of temperate conditions, and 132 zones of perpetual heat and cold.

As seen from the Earth, Mercury presents phases, similar to those of the Moon, because of which its visible size varies from 30' to 104' -- its crescent or new moon phase occurs at its inferior conjunction; its full moon phase at its superior conjunction. Its minor elongation, about 18, occurs 22 days before and after its inferior conjunction; its major elongation, about 28, 36 days before and after its superior conjunction. At its maximum its visible size is 3 times its diameter. Two of Jupiter's moons are larger than the planet Mercury.

To locate Mercury in the evening sky, find in the ephemeris the dates of its major elongation before or after a superior conjunction, and for 10 and 5 days before and after. Transfer into hours its R.A. and declination on these five dates, and plot its course on a star map, making note its nearness to known bright stars. Tilt this map toward the celestial North pole, and assume a horizon about 23 below the Mercury position. If weather conditions permit it can be seen with the aid of a field glass - sometimes even with the naked eye.

Mercury made a transit across the face of the Sun on May 11, 1937.

(Nicholas deVore - Encyclopedia of Astrology)

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