I rose early this morning. I had to get out of the house to meet a group of students. We are taking a trip down to the Rutland area to visit some colleges. I had to get up in the dark. This morning, that worked out well.
For the next few days, Mercury rises on the eastern horizon just before sunrise. At 6:30 I could see it glowing just above the pale horizon. It was the only celestial body I could see, with the exception of one star, just above it. By 6:45 the sky was too bright for me to see it. It is a fleeting planet, like the god after which it is named.
I have not seen Mercury much in my life, although I have tried to see it many times. Seeing Mercury is one of those things to pursue throughout a lifetime, so I know I will have many chances to see it again. I have thought for a long time of investing in a telescope, one powerful enough to the see the moons of Saturn. One of these days I will splurge on that.
Perhaps tomorrow I will rise early enough again to spy the other red planet. If I am lucky the clouds will have drifted off. If I do not see it again, I will have a few days left to do so, and I am sure I will see other small wonders in any case. That is the deal with rising early–there is always something wonderful to see.