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Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Daytime Venus Rides Again!

The Bad Astronomer has discovered the joys of daytime Venus spotting. He did quite well, picking up Venus when the Sun was more than 30 degrees above the horizon. Mind you, the Moon was very close to Venus, so it was easier to pick up, then again, the Moon was a very thin crescent, which can be hard to pick up too (on occasion I’ve needed to use Venus to find the crescent Moon.

Today during my coffee break I popped out and had a look for Venus, normally I wait a bit longer during Venus’s apparition, when it id further from the Sun and thus further away from the Sun’s glare. Also, at this time of year Venus is rather close to the murk of the horizon. Nonetheless, hiding the Sun behind a large building, once I located the crescent Moon it took only a short time to locate Venus, working off the memory of where it was last night.

The next good opportunity to easily find Venus in the daylight is 15 June, when the 10% illuminated Moon will be just over a fingerwith from Venus and Venus 36 degrees away from the Sun (compared to today, when the 12% illuminated Moon was over a handspan from Venus and Venus was 28 degrees from the Sun). While the Moon is the easiest landmark to help locate Venus, you can use other methods to find Venus in the daylight. Remember to always be careful and make sure the Sun is hidden behind some solid object like a wall so that you don’t accidently expose your eyes to direct sunlight.

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