Friday, December 17, 2010

Morning Venus- WOW!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

As an amateur astronomer, I've had people ask me lately what is the bright "star" in the early morning. Of course I tell them that their "star" is actually planet Venus, although I've only seen it under good conditions once since it reappeared in the morning sky. I know it recently peaked at a maximum brightness of magnitude -4.7, but knowing it's magnitude is no substitute for observation. I went out to look Wednesday morning, and even I couldn't believe how bright Venus shined! I can't print here the words I said when, but you can probably guess. Wow. Seriously, wow! Wow. Wow! WOW. WOW! WOW!!! No wonder she gets mistaken for a UFO!

Venus, about 6:15 Wednesday morning.

It was still visible just before sunrise at 7:06 AM.


If you haven't seen Venus in the morning sky yet, it's worth getting up early to see it. Even without a telescope, this is an impressive sight, and the last two mornings of 2010 will be even more spectacular. Venus will be dimming slightly, but on December 30th and 31st will be joined by a waning crescent Moon. And be sure while you're out to look for the brownish colored "star" to the upper right of Venus, Saturn! On December 29th, Saturn will make almost a right triangle with the Moon and Venus.

Venus is the most brilliant planet in our night sky. Please make a point to brave the early morning cold to see why the ancients equated this planet to the goddess of beauty and love.

5 comments:

  1. I'm going to try and catch a peek at Venus. Thanks Paulie for the info. :)

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  2. Venus has been keeping me company at 6 a.m when I can see her. You are so right Paulie (not stated but implied) these simple observations are WOW!!!!! and easy to do!

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