Mercury at superior conjunction 2024: All you need to know

Mercury at superior conjunction marks the disappearance of Mercury from the eastern sky as a morning object and its transition to the western sky as an evening object.

Mercury at superior conjunction

Mercury at superior solar conjunction
Mercury at superior solar conjunction. (Image credit: NASA)

Mercury at superior conjunction position in its orbit, meaning it is located on the opposite side of the sun with respect to the earth.

If the sun is located exactly between the earth and Mercury in a straight line, then Mercury disappears behind the sun, and we call it the occultation of Mercury. So occultation is a special case of superior conjunction.

During the superior conjunction position, planet Mercury appears to pass closest to the sun (about a degree) on our sky’s dome as it is located behind the sun.

Planet Mercury lost in the Sun's glare during solar conjunction
Planet Mercury lost in the Sun’s glare during superior solar conjunction. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

It’s normally not possible to observe planet Mercury during the superior conjunction as it lost in the Sun’s glare. You have to wait for few days to observe Mercury again and after superior conjunction it will be visible in the western sky following sunset.

Mercury is the fastest moving planet in our solar system, so it usually takes a little over a month to reach maximum angular separation (called greatest eastern elongation) on our sky’s dome from the superior conjunction position.

Phases of the inner planets (Mercury and Venus)
Phases of the inner planets (Mercury and Venus). (Image credit: ESO)

During the superior conjunction, planet Mercury appears fully illuminated (100% illuminated), or its “full” phase and smallest, as it’s located on the other side of the sun.

Mercury Farthest from the Earth

During the superior conjunction, planet Mercury reaches its apogee i.e. farthest distance from the Earth.

Mercury at superior conjunction in 2024

Planet Mercury will reach its next superior conjunction on June 14, 2024, at 16:00 UTC (12 p.m. EDT).

DateTime (UTC)
February 28, 202408:00
June 14, 202416:00
September 30, 202421:00
February 09, 202512:00

How often does Mercury reach superior conjunction?

Mercury reaches a superior solar conjunction once every 116 days. It’s called the synodic period of Mercury. It is the interval of time Mercury takes to orbit the sun and come back to the same position with respect to the Earth. It is slightly greater than the actual orbital period of Mercury (88 days) because our Earth is also in motion in its orbit.

Mercury events in 2024

DateEvents Remarks
January 12, 2024Mercury at greatest western elongationBest time to watch Mercury in the eastern sky before sunrise
February 28, 2024Mercury at superior conjunctionTransition of Mercury from a morning object to an evening object
March 24, 2024Mercury at greatest eastern elongationBest time to watch Mercury in the western sky following sunset
April 11, 2024Mercury at inferior conjunctionTransition of Mercury from an evening object to a morning object
May 9, 2024Mercury at greatest western elongationBest time to watch Mercury in the eastern sky before sunrise
June 14, 2024Mercury at superior conjunctionTransition of Mercury from a morning object to an evening object
July 22, 2024Mercury at greatest eastern elongationBest time to watch Mercury in the western sky following sunset
August 19, 2024Mercury at inferior conjunctionTransition of Mercury from an evening object to a morning object
September 5, 2024Mercury at greatest western elongationBest time to watch Mercury in the eastern sky before sunrise
September 30, 2024Mercury at superior conjunctionTransition of Mercury from a morning object to an evening object
November 16, 2024Mercury at greatest eastern elongationBest time to watch Mercury in the western sky following sunset
December 06, 2024Mercury at inferior conjunctionTransition of Mercury from an evening object to a morning object
December 25, 2024Mercury at greatest western elongationBest time to watch Mercury in the eastern sky before sunrise
Read about all Mercury events:

Mercury at inferior conjunction

Mercury at greatest western elongation

Mercury at superior conjunction 

Mercury at greatest eastern elongation 

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About the Author

Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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