Friday, July 10, 2015

Venus is Bright - By Contributing Astronomy Editor, Dan Matlaga

Aphrodite - Venus, Goddess of Love

How bright is Venus?

Venus is so bright...
...If you are observing from a dark sky site,Venus will cast shadows.

...Venus is the third brightest regular object in the sky.  The Sun and The Moon are the only two regular objects that can outshine Venus.

...Venus can be seen in broad daylight.

It is easy to see the planet Venus during the daylight hours because Venus is now brighter than the blue sky.
Four panels illustrate how simple it is to find Venus while the Sun is in the sky.

Go outside at 8:15 or so and face the West.  The two bright star looking objects are the planets Venus and Jupiter,  Venus is the one on the left, brighter and slightly higher than Jupiter.  Walk around so you can place Venus next to some landmark on your Western horizon.  Mark the spot  you are standing with a brick, stone chalk mark or whatever.

Next night stand on the same marker, look to the West but do this at 8:00 or fifteen minutes earlier than the first viewing.  You will find Venus will be above where you saw it a day earlier.

Walk around so Venus is once again lined up with a marker on your local horizon... a tree branch,  telephone pole,  neighbors house, or something. Mark where you are standing.

The third night repeat the same steps but now at 7:45.

The forth evening the sun should be above the horizon at 7:30.  If at first you can't see Venus keep looking.  Within 15 minutes it should appear where you saw it on the third evening attempt.

If you keep repeating these observations you may be able to continue until Venus will be visible to you at 5 or 4:00 late afternoon.  

The times given are for Tempe Arizona.  We do not have daylight saving time. We have too much sunlight for such childish things.  

Note:  Your first observing evening should correspond to a time when Venus is visible with a few background stars in your sky.

Editor's Note:  And lastly...Just for's what Frankie Avalon had to say about Venus back in 1959!