Tomorrow morning, Mercury reaches its Greatest Western Elongation, a description of its maximum separation from the Sun as seen from the Earth, rising just after 5 o’clock, with its best views from 5:30 to 6 o’clock. Mercury is moving away from us, as its orbit curves it back toward the Sun, passing behind the Sun on October 20th.
The First Quarter Moon hangs in the south as the stars emerge from the twilight by 7:30. Looking to the left of the Moon, you’ll find the stars of the “teapot” in Sagittarius, with its triangular lid on top of the teapot, while two more stars form a handle on the left, and another star to the right can be imagined as a spout.
The Autumnal Equinox marks the beginning of fall very early this morning at 2:50 AM EDT, the Sun directly above the equator. Sunrise tables show the length of the day about 12 hours and 10 minutes. Although the equinox is supposed to represent equal amounts of night and day, the Sun takes a few additional minutes to both rise and set, and the atmosphere “bends” the sun’s light, accounting for the extra time.