Mercury is difficult, but not impossible, to see in the Coachella Valley.
ILLUSTRATION BY STUART FUNK
Mercury always appears very near the sun, so it can only be viewed shortly before sunrise or after sunset. In the Coachella Valley, with mountains rising up along the southwest horizon, viewing the planet in the evening can be particularly tricky.
If you are up for the “I Spy” challenge, April 10 will be your best chance to see Mercury this spring. Ensure you have some distance between you and the mountains. Starting around 6:45 p.m., look in the western sky about 20 degrees below and just to the right of Venus. Mercury will be a faint point of light, around 15 degrees above the true horizon.
Each month, Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory astronomer Eric McLaughlin spotlights a notable celestial event. Get more information about the observatory.