[Article 2447]Yes, That’s Venus

Now Appearing in the Western Sky After Sunset

Back in the days when I worked at a planetarium, we got a spate of phone calls from people worried about that “bright thing in the west that doesn’t seem to be moving”. Invariably, there’d be a caller who thought it was a UFO and that NASA was hiding something… (you’d be amazed at how those two do NOT correlate with each other).

Well, most of the time it turned out to be a planet, and usually it was Venus. It’s pretty bright and starlike and in the evening twilight, it stands out really well.

Venus and the Moon, by Theo Wellington courtesy Spaceweather.com
Venus and the Moon, by Theo Wellington courtesy Spaceweather.com

I suppose my friends at the planetariums and observatories are getting that question again this week (and probably have been for the past few weeks).  And, what people are seeing IS Venus.  Last night I went out for a brief bit and looked because it was appearing not far from the crescent Moon.  If you step out tonight (and it’s clear), you should see Venus and the Moon not too far from each other.

This image shows about how it looked from my place, although it’s really the view that Theo Wellington of Goodlettsville, TN saw from HIS place.  There’s a whole slew of images over at Spaceweather.com — go see what everybody else is seeing!  And if you can,  check it out for yourself!

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5 Responses to [Article 2447]Yes, That’s Venus

  1. I was telling my tutoring students last week that the really bright “star” they saw low in the sky that night was indeed the planet they were studying in class. That got their attention!

  2. Since Venus is so close to it’s maximum magnitude, you can actually see it during daylight. Today it will be just below and to the right of the Moon.

  3. As we were leaving work, a friend asked me if she could see Venus tonight. I told her to look over my shoulder at the moon and then look to the lower right. She was first amazed that she could easily find the moon and then she was speechless when she saw Venus in daylight. Made my day.

  4. And THAT is the power of astronomy to amaze and inspire awe… ;)

  5. This is the photo I took last night. http://twitpic.com/19dwa