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Oh, dang, I've been negligent! Tomorrow (Saturday) morning, just before sunrise, Venus will be at its greatest elongation from the Sun until next year. She stands 47° from the Sun - way up in the sky, with Mercury only about 10° lower! She's absolutely the brightest object, so you won't miss it if you look east about 1/2 hour before sunrise. Heck, you can still see Venus even in the lightening dawn, but she's much more dramatic standing in a black sky. Here's where to look:


Click the image to see the Astronomy Magazine article.

And Mercury is at its highest, too, a day later.

When it's dark out and there are no streetlights, Venus can cast a shadow. She rises well before dawn, so you might see Venus-shadows over the next few days or weeks.

Interestingly, Venus isn't brightest at full phase but at crescent when it's 25% illuminated and 75% in shadow. This time-lapse shot over the course of a year provides a good visual:


Click the image to see more of Dave Eagle's astrophotos.

After today, she'll grow fuller but also move farther away, growing dimmer. Even so, Venus is usually the brightest celestial object besides the Sun and Moon.

Enjoy!
Chris

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
clevermanka
Jan. 8th, 2011 12:58 pm (UTC)
I saw her this morning! Beautiful.
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