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 Why is Venus so darn bright in the sky? 
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Post Why is Venus so darn bright in the sky?
Have you looked up into the sky in recent nights? Venus is that “star” in the evening sky that appears so blindingly brilliant.

Ironically Venus is getting brighter in the nighttime sky, and will for a few more weeks, even as we’re seeing a smaller crescent of the planet every night.

This is because the planet is moving closer to the Earth, and as it gets closer we’re seeing more of the unlit side of the planet.

Let me explain. Here’s an orrery showing the solar system as it was Tuesday:


You can see how Venus is fairly close to Earth, and that we’re still seeing a good part of the planet lit by the Sun. Now here’s an orrery for a month from now, when Venus will be even closer.


As you might imagine, as we see less of Venus, even as it gets closer to Earth, at some point the planet will start to dim. And you’d be right.

At present we’re seeing a crescent that shows about 32 percent of the planet being illuminated. Steve Clayworth, of Observable Universe, tells me that Venus will actually be at its very brightest when 28 percent of the planet appears illuminated.

That’s going to occur within the next couple of weeks. :heart

Indeed we’re only about six weeks from the point at which Venus makes its closest approach to Earth, to within about 26 million miles, or about 29 percent of the distance between the Earth and Sun. That will come during the first week of June.

Venus, of course, won’t be very bright that night.

In fact on the night of June 5 Venus will make a spectacularly rare transit of the Sun, something that won’t happen again until 2117. It will be partially visible from Houston. Steve has promised a blog post with all the details, and I’m going to hold him to that.

The bottom line is that you’re not seeing things when you look up and think, Gee, Venus sure looks bright. It’s because it is.

So enjoy. This is one celestial treat that not even the bright city lights cannot spoil. :clap

Read more here (and see the graphs): http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2012/04/why-is-venus-so-darn-bright-in-the-sky/

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Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:38 am
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Post Re: Why is Venus so darn bright in the sky?
Just last night I looked up and wondered if that was Venus, thanks for posting Blue you saved me some research :slap

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Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:25 am
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Post Re: Why is Venus so darn bright in the sky?
Yes, it was beautiful last night! That crescent moon hanging there with Venus just off to the right!

Spectacular! :yamon

Who can look at that and deny the existence of God? :heart

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The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR


Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:54 am
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