A personal achievement

I have an interest in astronomy. Growing up in the country, with its dark skies, I have seen a lot. I’ve seen craters on the moon, the phases of Venus, the Galilean moons, asteroids, Neptune, star clusters both open and globular, meteors, even the ISS and shuttle flying in formation. But the one thing I don’t recall ever seeing was Mercury. Until tonight. I knew Mercury would be close to Venus, and since I was home last weekend I hoped to be able to see it, but it was either cloudy or I forgot about it. So when I drove back to King of Prussia – with all the Philadelphia light pollution – I figured I’d have to wait a few more years before I could see it.

But tonight as I was driving home from a writing group, I happened to look over and see a bright “star” above the sunset. I bet that’s Venus, I thought. I had to stop for some groceries, so I parked and stared in the area Mercury should be. It took about a minute for me to spot the speck of light. Yes! I hadn’t been sure I’d ever seen Mercury, but now – and since I don’t have a telescope big enough to see Pluto, which isn’t a planet anymore – I can say that I have seen every planet in the solar system.

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