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Thread: Venus as Evening Star - 2008-2009

  1. #1
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    Wink Venus as Evening Star - 2008-2009

    Expect plenty of UFO sightings during the next few months. After a long hiatus, brilliant Venus has begun entering the western sky after sunset as the Evening Star. It is far and away the brightest celestial object after the Sun and Moon.

    Venus was in superior conjunction behind the Sun on 2008 JUN 09. As it appears to separate from the Sun, it will climb higher in the sky each evening. But the process will be rather slow at first as the evening ecliptic tilts over during the coming months.

    Venus will be waning in phase but increasing in angular diameter throughout this apparition. Dichotomy (like a Half Moon) will occur near 2009 JAN 16. Before that date it will appear gibbous and afterward as a crescent.

    Venus will achieve its greatest eastern elongation of 47.1° on 2009 JAN 14. From Chicagoland at 30 minutes after sunset it will reach its highest altitude of 35.5° on FEB 03. Its greatest brilliance at magnitude -4.6 is expected around FEB 20. Apparent retrograde motion will commence on MAR 06. Inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun by right ascension will occur on MAR 25 and by celestial longitude on MAR 27.

    The Moon and Venus will appear in conjunction (UT dates) on 2008 AUG 02, SEP 01, OCT 01, NOV 01, DEC 01, DEC 31 and 2009 JAN 30 & FEB 28. The Moon will occult Venus for Europeans on 2008 DEC 01 and for observers in the South Pacific on 2009 FEB 28.

    Venus will conjunct with Mercury on 2008 AUG 20 and SEP 12, also with Mars on SEP 12 to form a planetary trio. Venus will conjunct with Jupiter on 2008 DEC 01 (joined by Moon) and 2009 FEB 17. Venus will conjunct with Saturn on 2008 AUG 13.

    Venus will conjunct with Regulus on 2008 AUG 06, with Spica on SEP 19 and with Antares on OCT 27.

    I’ve created a panoramic graphic to illustrate Venus’s position (Moon’s too) in the western sky as viewed from Chicagoland at 30 minutes after sunset throughout the current evening apparition. It should well serve most northern hemisphere observers. I also made a diagram to demonstrate the relative positions of Sun, Earth and Venus throughout the 1.6-year synodic cycle. To see them, click: http://www.curtrenz.com/astronomical.html

    Photos and descriptions of Venus would be welcome additions to this thread.
    For astronomical graphics and data visit
    https://www.CurtRenz.com/astronomy.html

  2. #2
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    Wink Don't Confuse Venus with Jupiter

    I’m getting reports on other message boards from people who have been looking southeast in the evening and thinking they are seeing Venus. They were actually observing Jupiter, normally the next brightest celestial object after Venus. Venus in the evening is in the opposite direction and still very low and hard to spot. Jupiter is very obvious and will be in opposition to the Sun on July 9. Around that date it rises in the southeast at sunset, transits low above due south at local midnight, and sets in the southwest around sunrise.
    For astronomical graphics and data visit
    https://www.CurtRenz.com/astronomy.html

  3. #3
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    Wink Venus Graphic for Southern Hemisphere

    I’ve created a similar graphic for southern hemisphere observers. It shows the positions of Venus in the western sky during its current evening apparition as viewed from Sydney, Australia, although it should well serve most of you south of the equator. It can be found on the same webpage as my northern hemisphere graphic: http://www.curtrenz.com/astronomical.html
    For astronomical graphics and data visit
    https://www.CurtRenz.com/astronomy.html

  4. #4
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    Interesting and informative thread, Centaur. Thank you.

    I have a question - I live in the Middle East and am planning to see Venus and Saturn on the 13th. Thing is, I have no idea at what time that will happen and be clearly visible in the sky. I normally look up at the sky several times every evening but most of the time I have no idea what I'm looking for. So, I'm wondering if you can tell me at what time Venus and Saturn will conjunct exactly. That should make things easier for me. And just for the record, I don't have a telescope.

    Thanks in advance.
    “Of all the sciences cultivated by mankind, Astronomy is acknowledged to be, and undoubtedly is, the most sublime, the most interesting, and the most useful. For, by knowledge derived from this science, not only the bulk of the Earth is discovered, but our very faculties are enlarged with the grandeur of the ideas it conveys, our minds exalted above their low contracted prejudices.” - James Ferguson

  5. #5
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    Wink View from Riyadh

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiery Phoenix View Post
    Interesting and informative thread, Centaur. Thank you.

    I have a question - I live in the Middle East and am planning to see Venus and Saturn on the 13th. Thing is, I have no idea at what time that will happen and be clearly visible in the sky. I normally look up at the sky several times every evening but most of the time I have no idea what I'm looking for. So, I'm wondering if you can tell me at what time Venus and Saturn will conjunct exactly. That should make things easier for me. And just for the record, I don't have a telescope.

    Thanks in advance.
    You’re welcome, Fiery Phoenix. I’m always glad to help a young person who is developing an interest in astronomy. The following information applies specifically to Riyadh, but is good for anywhere in the Mideast. I’ll give the timings in UT+3 hours.

    Venus and Saturn will both appear low in your western sky after sunset on 2008 AUG 13. I calculate that the pair will have their least angular separation of 13.4 arcminutes (less than half the Moon's diameter) on that date at 20:01, which is about half an hour after they will set. Venus will appear far brighter and to the south (lower left) of Saturn, and both will be 18.0° east of the Sun. The Sun will set at 18:29. Venus and Saturn will both set at 19:29.

    Below is a graphic I created to illustrate the western sky from Riyadh on 2008 AUG 13 at 19:00 UT+3. Mercury will also be near Venus and Saturn while Mars will appear in the vicinity.


    For astronomical graphics and data visit
    https://www.CurtRenz.com/astronomy.html

  6. #6
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    Awesome! Thanks a lot for answering me, good sir.

    One more thing, I keep seeing this reddish bright dot daily after sunset. It appears in the eastern south sky and is clearly visible. I doubt it's just a star. I think it's Jupiter. What do you think?
    “Of all the sciences cultivated by mankind, Astronomy is acknowledged to be, and undoubtedly is, the most sublime, the most interesting, and the most useful. For, by knowledge derived from this science, not only the bulk of the Earth is discovered, but our very faculties are enlarged with the grandeur of the ideas it conveys, our minds exalted above their low contracted prejudices.” - James Ferguson

  7. #7
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    Wink Jupiter

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiery Phoenix View Post
    Awesome! Thanks a lot for answering me, good sir.

    One more thing, I keep seeing this reddish bright dot daily after sunset. It appears in the eastern south sky and is clearly visible. I doubt it's just a star. I think it's Jupiter. What do you think?
    That's almost certainly Jupiter, although it would only appear reddish when near the horizon. When higher it should appear almost white. After the Sun and Moon, Venus is usually the brightest object in the sky and then Jupiter. With a telescope or binoculars you could see Jupiter’s four large natural satellites. In fact, you could see them with your naked eyes, if Jupiter were not so overwhelmingly bright.
    For astronomical graphics and data visit
    https://www.CurtRenz.com/astronomy.html

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Centaur View Post
    That's almost certainly Jupiter, although it would only appear reddish when near the horizon. When higher it should appear almost white. After the Sun and Moon, Venus is usually the brightest object in the sky and then Jupiter. With a telescope or binoculars you could see Jupiter’s four large natural satellites. In fact, you could see them with your naked eyes, if Jupiter were not so overwhelmingly bright.
    I see.

    Well, thanks again, Centaur. You've been so helpful.
    “Of all the sciences cultivated by mankind, Astronomy is acknowledged to be, and undoubtedly is, the most sublime, the most interesting, and the most useful. For, by knowledge derived from this science, not only the bulk of the Earth is discovered, but our very faculties are enlarged with the grandeur of the ideas it conveys, our minds exalted above their low contracted prejudices.” - James Ferguson

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