Friday, December 27, 2013

Venus! Go! Look! Now!

Enjoying all the sunsets looking out over the Sea of Cortez the last few days reminded me that we'll not have Venus in the evening sky for much longer.  Long-visible the last few months as the brilliant "evening star", it is swiftly moving between us and the sun in a couple weeks.  But the good news is that even the modest magnification through binoculars will reveal it to be an impossibly skinny crescent during the half hour or 45 minutes after sunset. The reason even binoculars will reveal the disk is that Venus will be at the closest part of its orbit to the Earth.  The picture at left is a cropped shot from the William Optics 11cm F/7 triplet refractor I had on the trip.  This shot was actually taken before sunset and was one 1600th of a second in the daylight sky (I knew where to look from where it was the day before).  Another week and it will be too close to the sun to see easily, so if it is near sunset, go - look - NOW!

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