Venus Is Brilliant

   In the post yesterday I mentioned that observing Venus daily through December would show Venus increasing in apparent size and decreasing, waning, in its phase shape. An interesting result of this is that at some point in this part of the orbit Venus will be as bright as it can be at any time during its orbit around the Sun. Today, 6 December, Venus will be shining at an apparent magnitude of -4.90 with approximately 26% of Venus illuminated by the Sun as shown by the banner graphic at the top of the page. Today our Moon will be approximately 21% illuminated allowing the two, Moon and Venus, to look very similar in phase appearance.

Venus and our Moon: 5 December to 11 January

Venus and our Moon: 5 December to 11 January

   This animated graphic shows Venus and our Moon on a daily basis (one frame = 1 day) starting on 5 December and ending on 11 January when Venus is at inferior conjunction. As Venus orbits closer to us it will continue to increase in apparent size and decrease phase shape until it reaches inferior conjunction, between the Earth and the Sun.

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

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