Elusive Mercury and the Heart Beat of the Scorpion

Astronomical Events for August 23rd, 2015

If you live in the southern hemisphere you should grab the chance to see Mercury while you can – and count yourself lucky. An elusive planet that never strays far from the Sun in the sky, it’s currently a difficult sight for most of the northern hemisphere and may only be visible in the south for another week or so.

Meanwhile, for those of us in the north, we can see the just-past first quarter Moon pass by Antares in the early evening sky. As previously mentioned, this red supergiant star never rises very high above the horizon from the United Kingdom and observers there will need an unobstructed view of the horizon to see it. Being low, the thicker atmosphere will cause the star to flicker, giving the red heart of the Scorpion the beat it deserves.

(Click on an image to enlarge. Adapted from 2015: An Astronomical Year, available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom.)

Images courtesy of Mobile Observatory.



03:00 UT – Mercury fades to magnitude 0.0. (71% illuminated, diameter 6.0”. Leo, evening sky.)

18:42 UT – The just-past first quarter Moon passes Antares. (Naked eye, Scorpius, evening sky. See image above.)

Mercury leaves Leo and enters Virgo. (71% illuminated, magnitude 0.0, diameter 6.0”. Evening sky.)

The Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower ends. A maximum zenith hourly rate: 16. (Naked eye, Aquarius, all night but best in the pre-dawn sky.)



Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.

All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.

2015 An Astronomical Year (Kindle Edition) 2016 An Astronomical Year Paperback Cover 2016 The Night Sky Sights The Astronomical Almanac 2015-2019

2015: An Astronomical Year

2016: An Astronomical Year 2016: The Night Sky Sights The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook (Pocket Edition)

(Kindle & Paperback)

(Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback)


Amazon – US

Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US
Amazon – UK Amazon – UK  Amazon – UK Amazon – UK

Amazon – UK

Details of all available books across the world can be found here or by visiting the author’s page on Amazon. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at astronomywriter “at” gmail.com


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