Pink Planet In Sky; Mercury Sets The Mood On Valentine’s Day

By iScienceTimes Staff on February 12, 2013 2:15 PM EST

Pink Planet In Sky
Mercury will be bright pink on Valentine's Day. (Photo: NASA)

That pink planet in the sky isn't Friday's asteroid coming to collide with Earth, it's just little ol' Mercury making its usual celestial appearance. Only this time the closest planet to the sun will appear to be a pink planet in the sky because of its low position on the horizon. The twilight appearance of Mercury receives coloring from the light of the setting sun. Just in time for Valentine's Day, a pink planet in the sky!

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Mercury appearing as a pink planet in the sky actually began on Feb. 8 and the phenomenon will continue well past Valentine's Day, ending on Feb. 21. This video from Space.com explains why:

The best time to see the pink planet in the sky is in the first hour after sunset. Look straight below the crescent moon and you'll see Mercury and, below Mercury, you might also catch a glimpse of Mars. And although Mars gets a lot of attention, Mercury was the subject of some exciting news last year as well.

In November, a panel of NASA scientists announced that the MESSENGER ( an acronym for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging) spacecraft had detected the presence of water ice on Mercury, an astonishing find given the planet's proximity to the sun and its reputation as one of the hottest in the solar system. In addition to the discovery of water ice, NASA scientists also believe that there are highly-concentrated deposits of organic material similar to the kind that gave rise to life on Earth.

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