You’re seeing a vivid white “star” within the post-sunset night sky and also you’re questioning what it’s—and why it’s there.
It’s Venus, the brightest object within the night time sky apart from the Solar and Moon.
Earth’s hotter sister planet has been progressively rising into the night time sky from low within the southwest at Christmas to the place it’s proper now. It’s on the cusp of being unmissable to anybody wanting in the direction of the southwest after darkish, although just for a few hours or so, after which it sinks under the horizon.
It’s a style of issues to come back as a result of 2023 goes to be dominated by a brightening Venus.
Venus has an eight-year cycle through which it orbits the Solar 13 instances, with durations dominating Earth’s post-sunset night time skies as a superb “Night Star” and durations as “Morning Star.”
In 2023 the second planet from the Solar will rise larger into the post-sunset sky and get brighter by way of June 4, when it reaches its farthest from the Solar—no less than, from our standpoint on Earth.
Earlier than that Venus will “star” because the brightest object alongside some beautiful sights that no sky-gazer ought to miss. Right here’s when to look at the planet at its sensible finest:
- February 21 -23, 2023: Jupiter, Venus and a slim crescent Moon will align. Look southwest after sundown.
- March 1, 2023: Jupiter and Venus will seem a mere 0º.32’ from one another—the width of an outstretched finger held as much as the sky. The most effective recommendation is to look every night time from late February to about March 4.
- April 10, 2023: Venus near the Pleiades.
- Might 21, 2023: Venus near the 2 brightest stars in Gemini, Castor and Pollux.
- June 4, 2023: Venus at its “best elongation east”—the best it’ll seem above the horizon, within the night sky.
- July 7, 2023: Venus at its “best brilliance”—the brightest it ever will get regardless of by now being a crescent—although by now a lot decrease on the horizon.
After a shocking late winter, spring and early summer time efficiency, Venus will shortly fade and sink into the horizon, solely to look as a pre-dawn “Morning Star” for an equally spectacular, however much less seen, apparition.
Venus could also be Earth’s twin planet, however apart from each being terrestrial planets strewn with volcanoes and craters with virtually equivalent density there are some huge variations:
- The floor of Venus can attain 869°F/465°C and it has a thick ambiance of carbon dioxide. It’s hotter than Mercury regardless of not being as near the Solar.
- Venus takes 243 Earth-days to rotate, however solely 225 Earth-days to orbit the Solar. So a day on Venus is barely longer than a yr!
- All of the planets in our photo voltaic system rotate anti-clockwise besides Venus.
Wishing you clear skies and vast eyes.
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