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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

 

Venus, Regulus, Saturn and The Moon (more daytime Venus)

The North Western horizon at around 6:10 pm local time, Tuesday July 17th in the southern hemisphere.

On this night Venus, Saturn, Regulus and the crescent Moon are within a circle of 4 fingerwidths radius. This will be a very attractive sight, and a good opportunity for astrophotography.

As well, earlier on July 17th there is an opportunity to locate Venus in the daytime when it is just three fingerwidths from the 3 day old crescent Moon.

To locate Venus in the daytime, you will need to look in the afternoon, when the Moon is well above the horizon.

The best time to look is around 3 pm local time. Then the Moon and Venus are almost directly to the north, and about 7 handspans above the horizon. The best time for photography is later, when the Sun is low to the horizon, and the sky is darker, making it easier to pick up Venus. If you have binoculars, you might be able to pick up Saturn as well, just under 3 fingerwidths away. But, as with all daylight observing, be extremely careful not to look in the direction of the Sun.

Make sure the Sun is hidden behind something substantial, like a wall or building, not a tree. Never look directly at the Sun with unprotected eyes; you can permanently destroy your eyesight. The Moon is about 5 handspans east of the Sun. With the Sun hidden behind something, this should keep you from accidental exposure.

The Moon may not be easily apparent at first, but allow time for your eyes to adjust and you should be able to pick out the 8% illuminated crescent. Venus will be three fingerwidths directly above the Moon, and should "pop out" almost instantly when you locate the Moon (it does for me, it was very easy to locate Venus last time).

How about a competition? The best (or earliest in the day) image of Venus and the Moon taken during daytime and submitted to me will win a copy of the July-August Sky&Space.

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