Morning Star

Yes, the spark of Venus now definitively burns through the low pre-dawn sky,


After passing between us and the Sun on August 15, this nearest of planets has begun its sweep out into the morning sky, to culminate around the end of September and last until the more distant conjunction behind the Sun in June 2016.

Today it also happens that Venus is at the point in its slightly tilted orbit that is southernmost (its greatest latitude south, of 2.4 degrees). That explains why, at the inferior conjunction on Aug. 15, Venus passed well south of the Sun, making it more deeply invisible for us in the northern hemisphere but conceivably observable by clever Australians.

2 thoughts on “Morning Star”

  1. In the past, I have sometimes been able to observe Venus on the date of its inferior conjunction, but during this apparition, owing to hazy and June-like conditions along the North Carolina coast where we were vacationing, I was only able to see Venus with 20 x 80 binoculars on August 12 and then again on August 22 during the daytime. On August 22, I was also able to view it through my Celestron 8 telescope by offsetting from the Sun. That pure white crescent hanging there against the blue sky is mesmerizing!

  2. I saw Venus for the first time during her current morning apparition last Thursday morning, August 27. I walked up a nearby hill before dawn to get a clear view to the east over San Francisco Bay. Venus was a brilliant light well above the cloudy horizon 45 minutes before sunrise, and a beautiful crescent through mounted 11×56 binoculars. After spending so much time with her when she was an evening planet, it felt a bit strange that the view got better over time (rather than worse), as she rose higher and the sky brightened. I enjoyed showing Venus to a few early morning dog walkers, and three young Polish tourists who were in San Francisco for the first time — they had walked up the hill to watch the Sun rise. It was fun to point out the prominent landmarks, and to commiserate about our respective reactionary demagogue politicians.

Write a comment