Watch Mercury at its brightest without a telescope – but you’ll have to be quick

Mercury is the smallest plant nearest to the Sun and is not easy to spot from planet Earth as it is usually out-shone in the night sky.

Stargazers are in luck however, as Mercury will be visible from the UK this evening because it is in "elongation."

Elongation refers to the orbit of a planet and the angle it is at when it’s at the side of the Sun from Earth’s perspective.

Over the course of January 23 and January 24, Mercury will not be directly in front of the Sun, it will be positioned around the side.

This means the planet will be visible to humans at a certain time, and can even be seen without a telescope.

According to astronomers, Mercury will be visible from the UK between 45 and 60 minutes after sunset.

Sunset in the UK is at around 4.34pm in London, 4.36pm in Scotland, 4.47pm in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Stargazers will then be able to catch the planet due westward, earthsky.org have said.

It will likely appear to be the biggest star in the sky as dusk ebbs into darkness.

Mercury will also be the lowest hanging "star" in the sky while look west.

The planet can also be seen with the unaided eye, but a telescope will come in handy if you have one.

It will only linger in the sky for about 60 minutes though, so be quick if you'd like to see it on this clear evening.

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According to EarthSky, right now is the "best time" to view Mercury.

It claims: "Right now – January 23 and 24, 2021 – presents the best time to view Mercury during its present apparition in the evening sky.

"Day by day, Mercury will dim bit by bit as it falls sunward throughout the next couple of weeks.

"By the month’s end, Mercury will still be some 15 degrees east of the sun, yet no brighter than Fomalhaut."

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