For much of the past few months, Venus, second planet from the Sun and third brightest object in the sky, was been putting on quite the show in the dusk sky, easily out-shining everything else in its neighborhood of sky. However, two weeks ago, that all ended as the 'evening star' disappeared into the Sn's glare. Now, though, a week after it first reappeared, Venus is now easily visible in the morning.
So, why is this?
As seen from Earth, Venus goes through two periods of invisibility when it moves behind the Sun (superior conjunction) or when it come directly between the Earth and Sun (inferior conjunction). This time, Venus went through an inferior conjunction, as evidenced by its crescent shape (if you looked at it through a telescope). Either conjunction, though, produces the same result: the planet reappears on the opposite end of the day from which it disappeared. This time, Venus disappeared from the evening sky to return as a morning object.
Reasons why now known, why not go out on a clear morning just before sunrise late this week and try to spot the dazzling planet for yourself? The good news: it's easy to spot as, less than a week after first reappearing, Venus is now rising an hour and a half ahead of the Sun. To see the planet, simply go out before sunrise, look East, and you can't help but miss it as Venus is, by far, the brightest thing in the sky.
As always, would-be sky watchers in the Cleveland area should be sure to keep an eye on the Cleveland weather forecast and, for hour-by-hour cloud predictions, the Cleveland Clear Sky Clock. Live somewhere else? Find a clock and see if it will be clear near you.
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