Venus – Regular as Clockwork

Designation:      Planet Venus
Visual magnitude:   -4.1
Apparent size: 28.7 arc-seconds.
Diameter: 12103 km (95% of Earth dia)
Distance: 87 million km
Date: 2020-04-10
Exposure: 1 sec, f/5.6, ISO 250 with 50mm lens on Canon 60D camera & tripod

Venus is the second brightest object in the night sky (after the Moon) and it will be at its brightest during April this year. In May it will start fading as it appears lower in the evening sky.

It’s always a joy to watch Venus in its eternal motion, as it first slowly rises in the West over several months and then quickly drops in the evening sky as it overtakes us. It’s a reminder of the predictability and permanence of the Solar System, compared to the fragility and transitory nature of humankind.

It’s orbit around the Sun (sidereal period) is about 225 days and it passes us in its orbit between Earth and the Sun about every 584 days, which is known as its synodic period.

So every nineteen months Venus moves into our evening sky, stays for about nine and a half months and then quickly disappears below our evening horizon, only to appear in the morning sky soon after, for the next nine and a half months. Regular as clockwork.

Venus is a cloudy planet – even more cloudy than Sydney has been recently – and the phase shown in this beautiful Hubble image is fairly close to what you would see this month. Yes, Venus phases are very similar to the Moon.

Thanks for reading!

2018-03-10 Telescope & Roger
Images © Roger Powell
I’m a founder member of Macarthur Astronomical Society,
Australia. 🙃

13 Comments

      1. By the way, I am a member / moderator of a facebook group called Dr.Neil deGrasse Tyson, and I sometimes copy your posts there for others to enjoy them too. (Always quoting you as the author / originator. astrophotographer). You could come visit / join us there and directly post your pictures there too.
        Thank you, again, for the work you do. Stay blessed.
        https://www.facebook.com/groups/drneildegrassetyson/

        Like

      2. Balaji,

        I have no objection to my blog page being shared by linking in your Facebook group, with the usual attribution protocol. Thank you.

        Thank you also for your invitation to join the group, which seems to be designed to promote astronomy. I like that.

        However, I am somewhat weary of Facebook at the moment, having been a member for over twelve years. I am trying to scale back on the time that I spend on that platform for a while.

        Best regards,

        Roger

        Like

  1. Besides the moon, Venus is the celestial body whose changes I track most throughout the year. I rarely get to see it during the morning star phase, but once it returns to the evening sky, I recognize it instantly.

    Like

    1. Your’e right.
      Now I am retired I only ever see the evening sky but when going to work I would also track Venus, whether it was in the morning or evening sky. It provided me with an added incentive to also seek out the more elusive Mercury.

      Liked by 1 person

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