Sunday, January 22, 2017

Find Venus in the daytime sky

I am sure you have all been enjoying Venus in the night sky over the past few months. It is now at its  farthest from the sun in the sky and thus stays out later each night.

Since Venus is so far from the Sun, this is also a good time to practice viewing it in the daytime. 

For those of you you have followed my blog for awhile, you already know this is possible. Generally stars and planets are not visible in the daytime since the background blue sky is brighter. However Venus (and sometimes Jupiter and mars) can be bright enough to see in the daytime. The trick is to view it when:
1) it is far from the Sun so you are not blinded
2) it is high in the sky, to reduce the thick atmosphere.

The last tricky part is to know where to look. Well next week will be a great opportunity as the 4 day old moon will pass near Venus and act as a guidepost.

On Jan 31 go out at 2:45 pm. Find a spot facing south where the Sun is blocked behind a all or building.  The Moon and Venus will be due south. Look up about 53 degrees and you should be able to find the crescent moon. Then look up 5 more degrees and there will be Venus, clear as day.

To measure 5 degrees, use your 3 fingers of a outstretched hand (as described here)

Try it out and let us know how you do.