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Morrolan
2005-Feb-28, 02:45 PM
my wife was doing some research for her next class (she's a teacher) and was reading the CD version of the Encyclopedia Brittanica where she read the Mercury is referred to as the mornig- and evening star.... (i think that for copyright reasons i can't post the text involved)

now we were both under the impression that it was Venus that was referred to in that manner (my astronomy book is in storage and Bad Astronomy doesn't appear to have a reference, but Wikipedia confirms this), so now we are totally confused given the source of the data. 8-[

we were right... right?

01101001
2005-Feb-28, 02:56 PM
When I hear "the morning/evening star" I've always thought of Venus. A few websites, though call Mercury a morning/evening star, too. It makes sense. Mercury is just harder to spot, and so is less famous in the role.

One site (http://bellsouthpwp.net/t/o/tomas42064/MORNSTAR.HTM) claims to quote the World Book Encyclopedia:


EVENING STAR is a planet that can be seen after sunset. The planet Venus and Mercury are most often seen as the evening stars. Because these two planets move in orbits smaller than the earth's orbit, they appear to move from one side of the sun to the other. Therefore, these two planets can be seen only in the western sky after sunset or in the eastern sky before sunrise. When either planet is seen at sunrise, it is called a morning star.

Edit: Correct encyclopedia name

Morrolan
2005-Feb-28, 03:00 PM
it's not literally the EB, this is:
Mercury's orbit is inside the orbit of the Earth, and this creates two important astronomical effects. First, Mercury is never more than 27°45′ of angle away from the Sun and is thus seen as a “morning” star just before sunrise or an “evening” star just after sunset.
the reference to Venus doesn't mention the two terms at all.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Feb-28, 03:04 PM
dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=morning%20star) says "A planet, especially Venus, visible in the east just before or at sunrise." So, Mercury could be a "morning star," although I think Morning Star and Evening Star (with caps) typically refer to Venus.

This NASA page about Mercury (http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2000/ast02jun_1.htm) lists dates at the bottom of the page, when Mercury is a morning or evening star.

Skyfire
2005-Feb-28, 04:50 PM
dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=morning%20star) says "A planet, especially Venus, visible in the east just before or at sunrise." So, Mercury could be a "morning star," although I think Morning Star and Evening Star (with caps) typically refer to Venus.

This NASA page about Mercury (http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2000/ast02jun_1.htm) lists dates at the bottom of the page, when Mercury is a morning or evening star.

.... and of course if you live in London the Morning Star is (or was!) a left wing newspaper. The Evening Star is London's "local" afternoon/evening paper.

Maddad
2005-Mar-01, 12:59 AM
Of all the planets, only Mercury and Venus orbit inside the Earth. That means that both of them will always be seen close to the Sun when viewed from Earth, with Mercury being closer to the Sun than Venus. Because they will always be seen close to the Sun, they will both only be visible in the morning or in the evening. Both may therefore reasonably be called morning or evening stars.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Mar-01, 01:21 AM
Both may therefore reasonably be called morning or evening stars.
Why wouldn't it be reasonable to call Saturn or Jupiter an evening star?

Sam5
2005-Mar-01, 01:36 AM
my wife was doing some research for her next class (she's a teacher) and was reading the CD version of the Encyclopedia Brittanica where she read the Mercury is referred to as the mornig- and evening star.... (i think that for copyright reasons i can't post the text involved)

now we were both under the impression that it was Venus that was referred to in that manner (my astronomy book is in storage and Bad Astronomy doesn't appear to have a reference, but Wikipedia confirms this), so now we are totally confused given the source of the data. 8-[

we were right... right?

Some media companies put young inexperienced writers on these kinds of writing assignments, and sometimes they don’t know anything about classical tradition, which has maintained for hundreds of years that Venus is known as the “morning and evening star”. (Of course we now know it’s a planet.) Poets, writers, lovers, kids, old folks, etc., etc., for hundreds and hundreds of years have though of Venus, not Mercury, as the “morning and evening star”.

Sam5
2005-Mar-01, 01:56 AM
Both may therefore reasonably be called morning or evening stars.
Why wouldn't it be reasonable to call Saturn or Jupiter an evening star?

Hi. Here’s a little essay from 1871 that mentions Jupiter and Venus. See page 131.....

1871 article (http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/moa/moa-cgi?notisid=ABR0102-0110-5)