Mercury in 2024

The path of Mercury against the background stars in 2024

The upper chart shows the path of Mercury across the background stars over the course of the year. Stars to magnitude +4.5 are shown with some fainter objects included to complete constellation patterns. The white circles represent the planet on the first day of the month and are scaled according to apparent magnitude. The faint paths before the first circle and after the last circle represent the planet's positions in December of last year and January of next. In general, the planet moves from right to left except when it's in retrograde and proceding in the opposite direction. As an inferior planet, Mercury never strays far from the Sun so it always begins and ends the year near the constellation of Sagittarius, located about one quarter of the way in from the left side of the chart.

The lower charts show how the appearance of Mercury changes over the year. Below each image is listed the date, the apparent magnitude, the apparent diameter of the disk (in arc-seconds), the geocentric distance (in au), the elongation from the Sun (in degrees) and the percentage of the disk which is illuminated. Like the Moon, Mercury exhibits a complete range of phases, from new to crescent to gibbous to full and back again. Because its synodic period is around four months, Mercury completes this phase cycle three times each year. Note how Mercury's magnitude varies widely, ranging (approximately) from −2.0 to +6.0 between conjunctions.

Mercury appears in the east before sunrise at the beginning of 2024. It will be a morning sky object three more times this year, alternating with appearances in the west after sunset. Northern temperate observers get their best views of this elusive planet in March and April (evening sky) and August through September (morning sky). The southern hemisphere is treated the sight of Mercury high in east from mid-April to mid-June, with the best evening apparition occuring immediately afterwards, from mid-June to mid-August. Mercury is occulted by the Moon once this year, in March, but is only 10° away from the Sun at the time.

All times and dates are in UT. Positions are geocentric apparent places, referred to the true equator and equinox of date.

96.9° north of the Moon
12greatest elongation west: 23.5°
23descending node
27planetary conjunction: 0.2° south of Mars
2aphelion: 0.468 au
83.2° north of the Moon
28superior conjunction
planetary conjunction: 0.2° north of Saturn
8planetary conjunction: 0.4° south of Neptune
11lunar occultation: 0.1° north of the Moon (daytime event)
13ascending node
17perihelion: 0.308 au
24greatest elongation east: 18.7°
1stationary in right ascension: direct → retrograde
stationary in ecliptic longitude: direct → retrograde
92.2° north of the Moon
11inferior conjunction
19planetary conjunction: 1.7° south of Venus
20descending node
24stationary in right ascension: retrograde → direct
25stationary in ecliptic longitude: retrograde → direct
30aphelion: 0.468 au
73.8° south of the Moon
9greatest elongation west: 26.4°
31planetary conjunction: 1.3° north of Uranus
4planetary conjunction: 0.1° north of Jupiter
54.7° south of the Moon
9ascending node
13perihelion: 0.307 au
14superior conjunction
17planetary conjunction: 0.9° south of Venus
20maximum declination north: +24.92°
60.1° south of open cluster M44 (Praesepe)
73.2° south of the Moon
17descending node
22greatest elongation east: 26.9°
251.7° south of the first-magnitude star α Leo (Regulus)
27aphelion: 0.468 au
4stationary in right ascension: direct → retrograde
5stationary in ecliptic longitude: direct → retrograde
67.5° south of the Moon
8planetary conjunction: 5.7° north of Venus
19inferior conjunction
28stationary in right ascension: retrograde → direct
stationary in ecliptic longitude: retrograde → direct
15.0° south of the Moon
4ascending node
5greatest elongation west: 18.1°
90.4° north of the first-magnitude star α Leo (Regulus)
perihelion: 0.307 au
30superior conjunction
31.8° north of the Moon
13descending node
23aphelion: 0.467 au
32.1° north of the Moon
102.0° north of the first-magnitude star α Sco (Antares)
16greatest elongation east: 22.5°
19maximum declination south: −25.49°
26stationary in ecliptic longitude: direct → retrograde
stationary in right ascension: direct → retrograde
1ascending node
24.9° north of the Moon
6inferior conjunction
perihelion: 0.307 au
15stationary in right ascension: retrograde → direct
stationary in ecliptic longitude: retrograde → direct
25greatest elongation west: 22.0°
296.4° north of the Moon