Venus

Designation:    Venus
Visual magnitude:   -3.8 (varies between -3.4 to -4.2 over its cycle)
Apparent size: 18 arc seconds. current. ( varies 9.6″ to 64.2″)
Diameter : 12,104 km (0.9488 Earth dia).
Distance: 7.73 light minutes (varies).

Venus is always a delightful planet to watch in the evening twilight.

Following its orbit always inspires me to get out my DLSR and tripod and return to basic astro-photography, observing the motion of the planet – and its phases.

Many people don’t know that Venus undergoes phases, just like the Moon does.

After Venus passed superior conjunction (far side of the Sun) in August 2019, it returned to the evening sky last September as a small 10 arc-second diameter ‘full’ sphere.

Since then, it has been gradually swinging around its orbit, catching up with Earth and as it does so, its phase changes. It currently appears gibbous with a diameter of 18.3 arc seconds.

Venus at gibbous phase. Image RP: 2010-07-17

Its phase will gradually move towards a slender crescent, a much bigger 57 arc seconds in diameter, before reaching inferior conjunction on 4th June 2020, when it will be at its closest distance, passing Earth on the inside before moving back into the morning sky.

Crescent Venus & Jupiter. RP: 2015-07-01

The Solar System in motion!


Image Details
Date:  2020-02-24Exp: 2.5 sec, f/3.2,  ISO 800
Camera: Canon 60Dlens: 50mm

2018-03-10 Telescope & Roger

Images © Roger Powell

I’m one of the founder members of Macarthur Astronomical Society, Australia. 🙃

7 Comments

    1. I’ve only tried it with a telescope but I think it would be possible to see the phases in binoculars, especially if you have a clear western horizon and view it in about late April/early May 2020 as it approaches inferior conjunction.
      At this time it will be a very large crescent which you might catch low in the sky immediately after the Sun has set.
      You would need to find some means of steadying the binoculars.
      Let me know how you get on.

      Liked by 1 person

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