Early risers – see Venus cast a shadow in the morning sky

January 28, 2014 | By | Add a Comment
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Early risers will notice tomorrow morning when the Moon is located next to dazzling Venus currently shining at magnitude -4.5.  Keep watching over the next two weeks as Venus will get even brighter and reaches -4.9 magnitude on the morning of 15 February.

Mars, Saturn, Venus and waning crescent Moon finder chart 4 am AEST / 5 am AEDT 29 January 2014. Chart prepared for Canberra, Australian Capital Territory but will be useful for elsewhere in Eastern Australia. Chart created using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

Mars, Saturn, Venus and waning crescent Moon finder chart 4 am AEST / 5 am AEDT 29 January 2014. Chart prepared for Canberra, Australian Capital Territory but will be useful for elsewhere in Eastern Australia. Chart created using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

This will occur when Venus reaches it’s greatest illuminated extent, which is the moment that the visible part of the planet’s day side appears largest as seen from Earth.

Venus's appearance  at 4 am AEST / 5 am AEDT 15 February 2014. Image created using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

Venus’s appearance at 4 am AEST / 5 am AEDT 15 February 2014. Image created using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

Venus should in fact be so bright that it should cause objects in dark sky conditions to cast shadows. As this article explains, the best way to see these shadows is to use your hand and a white piece of paper. Venus will remain visible in the Earth’s morning sky until mid-September when it’s orbital motion will carry it back towards the Sun.

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About the Author (Author Profile)

This website is maintained by Paul Floyd. I am an amateur astronomer (and school teacher) with 25 years experience (as at 2015) in running a range of education and public astronomy outreach activities. As of January 2015, I have been providing astronomy information via the WWW for eighteen years.