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Apophis
2009-Jan-07, 11:31 AM
Hi, I live in New York City, where light pollution makes naked eye observation almost impossible.

But for the past few days I've seen a very bright object in the sky. Initially it was very close to the Moon, but after a few days the distance between them has increased. My first assumption was that it was Venus, but usually even Venus is very difficult to make out in the bright city lights. This object is much brighter than anything I'm used to seeing through the light pollution.

I was wondering if Venus, or some other object, is known to have been unusually bright for the past week or so.

pghnative
2009-Jan-07, 11:38 AM
The moon and Venus were very close a few days ago, and Venus is certainly very bright right now, so the object you've seen is most certainly Venus.

Venus is often very bright, so I don't have a good explanation as to why it seems brighter to you than normal. Maybe the air around NYC is a little less hazy than normal, thus a little less light pollution than normal.

ravens_cry
2009-Jan-07, 01:18 PM
This may help determine if what you saw was an astronomical object.
http://www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky/
I have used similar tools to determine what an object I saw was. It also turned out to be Venus.

Nick Theodorakis
2009-Jan-07, 03:27 PM
Hi, I live in New York City, where light pollution makes naked eye observation almost impossible.

But for the past few days I've seen a very bright object in the sky. Initially it was very close to the Moon, but after a few days the distance between them has increased. My first assumption was that it was Venus, but usually even Venus is very difficult to make out in the bright city lights. This object is much brighter than anything I'm used to seeing through the light pollution.

I was wondering if Venus, or some other object, is known to have been unusually bright for the past week or so.

It sounds like Venus to me, as well. It's very (very!) bright these days.

The Venus and moon were in conjuntion on New Year's Eve (http://theodorakis.net/astroblog/2008/12/31/new-years-eve-conjunction/), and I took a picture of it (not with a telescope, just point the camera at the sky), if you want to compare that to your mental image.

Nick

Swift
2009-Jan-07, 04:07 PM
During the last several days I've seen Venus clearly through city lights, though Cleveland's skyline isn't quite as bright as New York's.

Hornblower
2009-Jan-07, 05:31 PM
Venus is very bright all the time. It varies by less than a magnitude over its orbital cycle, even when near inferior conjunction. It is easily visible in bright twilight unless very low in a smoggy sky. At dusk right now it is fairly high and thus clearly visible in a clear sky despite city lights.

I have seen brown haze so thick that I could not see past the north end of Central Park from the Empire State Building. That might have been enough to hide Venus at low elevations. The last few times I have been in New York in clear weather the visibility was much better.

phunk
2009-Jan-07, 05:42 PM
I'm almost certain you're talking about Jupiter.

tommac
2009-Jan-07, 05:43 PM
I think venus and jupiter ( may have planets wrong) were very close to the moon about a month ago. I think I saw something bright last night too. It looked the same.

Cougar
2009-Jan-07, 10:46 PM
I'm almost certain you're talking about Jupiter.

Jupiter is now down around the horizon at sunset, along with Mercury, as Nick's photos show. Apophis is seeing Venus. As Tommac said, the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter just about all collided in the sky a little over a month ago. Here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/79652716@N00/3074400729/sizes/o/) is a spectacular shot of the triple conjunction from Ireland, with Venus moving into view from behind the Moon, taken by BAUT member Keith g. You can also see one (or more?) of Jupiter's moons.

MAPNUT
2009-Jan-08, 02:26 PM
I work in New York City and have often seen Venus in the early evening. It's always very bright and easy to see if there aren't buildings in the way. I had a lovely view of it the night it was so close to the crescent Moon - looking straight down Broadway from City Hall Park.

phunk
2009-Jan-08, 04:52 PM
Is Venus really visible that late into the night? Because I've seen what Apophis is talking about from NYC and it's not just at sunset.

slang
2009-Jan-08, 05:02 PM
Is Venus really visible that late into the night? Because I've seen what Apophis is talking about from NYC and it's not just at sunset.

Apophis did not mention a timeframe. How do you know that (s)he is talking about the same thing? What do you call late into the night?

Seeka
2009-Jan-08, 05:54 PM
I haven't been able to observe Jupiter lately it's too low atm. I have been observing Venus for the last couple of months, it's visible from Cork from around 5pm to around 9pm and last weekend while driving home i looked out to see what stars were out and i did a double take on what was Venus looking much more sparkly than usual, i thought it might have been a plane landing initially because it was so bright but it was definitely Venus :) Perhaps its orbit is nearer to earth at the moment as stated above.:)

That picture of the triple conjunction is amazing! Shot from Ireland too eh:lol:

phunk
2009-Jan-08, 05:56 PM
Well, I've only noticed one very bright object that was close to the moon a week ago but moving farther away daily, exactly as Apophis described. I'm assuming we're talking about the same thing.

Pretty sure I saw it after midnight last night but it was partly cloudy so it was kinda isolated from any other points of refrence in the sky, maybe I was lookin at something else.

slang
2009-Jan-08, 09:46 PM
Well, I've only noticed one very bright object that was close to the moon a week ago but moving farther away daily, exactly as Apophis described. I'm assuming we're talking about the same thing.

Which is exactly how Venus appeared, close to the moon, but it does set early evening.


Pretty sure I saw it after midnight last night but it was partly cloudy so it was kinda isolated from any other points of refrence in the sky, maybe I was lookin at something else.

Later at night Sirius is up, and that's a pretty [comma optional] bright star. Not even close to how bright Venus is right now, but perhaps added darkness made it seem more bright to you. Here's a sky map for New York (http://www.heavens-above.com/skychart.aspx?SL=1&SN=1&lat=40.714&lng=-74.006&loc=New+York&alt=2&tz=EST) (yes, east and west are reversed, you're supposed to look at this as if you hold it up over your head). Click it, and it should show you what's visible at that time.

mugaliens
2009-Jan-09, 06:54 PM
Is Venus really visible that late into the night? Because I've seen what Apophis is talking about from NYC and it's not just at sunset.

Yes, phunk. It was Venus, despite the bright lights of glittertown.

Apophis
2009-Jan-10, 09:01 PM
Wow thanks everyone. I wasn't expecting such a quick and through response. You guys are awesome.

Phunk and Slang, this was still fairly early in the evening so I'm pretty sure, based on everyone information here, that this was Venus I was looking at.

I'm used to seeing only the Moon in the sky so it was strange when I suddenly was able to make out something else. And especially strange because it was so bright. But I guess considering the time of year, and Venus' proximity to Earth, it really isn't all that weird, just unexpected.

Thanks again everybody.

Swift
2009-Jan-14, 08:01 PM
From Spaceweather.com (http://www.spaceweather.com/)

Today, Jan. 14th, Venus reaches its maximum elongation (apparent distance) from the sun. Go outside at sunset, face south, and take a long look. Venus won't set for more than three hours.