Venus Morning Watch

Click on picture for screen size.

Click on picture for screen size.

   Did you notice a bright star rising just ahead of the Sun this morning? If so you are looking at the planet Venus as it moves westward away from the Sun in the morning skies. Venus was recently at inferior conjunction, between the Earth and the Sun on 11 January. Over the next several months Venus will continue moving out away from the Sun rising earlier each morning. Watch for Venus each morning at the same time and you will notice that it is a bit higher as the days pass. Venus is moving west out away from the Sun toward its western elongation later this year.
   This picture was taken this morning at 6:45 am CST, after around 9″ (~22cm) of new snow fell yesterday and last night. Temperature this morning was 7oF (wind chill of -25oF.

venus_phases-ani   Venus moving away from inferior conjunction will undergo phase changes similar to our Moon. Inferior conjunction is sort of like a new Moon and so as Venus moves westward away from the Sun and from in between the Earth and Sun the angle between the Sun and Venus will start to increase. Venus will first appear as a relatively large and very thin crescent. Over time Venus’s apparent size will decrease and Venus will wax toward a gibbous phase shape before we lose sight of it later this year as it approaches superior conjunction. This animated graphic is set for 1 frame per day and runs from 5 February to 5 May.
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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