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Astro Bob

Venus Remains In Hiding, But You Can’t Miss The Waning Moon

21 Aug 2019, 18:25 UTC
Venus Remains In Hiding, But You Can’t Miss The Waning Moon
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In this photo taken earlier today above Earth’s atmosphere by SOHO, a disk blocks the sun, letting us see not just Venus but Mars, Leo’s brightest star Regulus and a host of fainter stars. The sun’s position is shown by the white circle, and rays sticking out either side are part of the sun’s outer atmosphere called the corona. The bright line through Venus is an electronic effect due to overexposure. NASA / ESA
Venus has been hiding for weeks near the sun in the morning sky. On Aug. 14 it was in conjunction with the sun. Since that date the solar system’s most reflective planet has been inching into the evening sky. Right now it’s just a few degrees from the sun and hopelessly lost from view in its glare. Only the orbiting SOHO (Solar Heliospheric Observatory) spacecraft can spot it. It does this by using an opaque mask called an occulting disk to block out our offending star.
As Venus cycles around the sun very 225 days, it passes between the Earth and sun in inferior conjunction and on the opposite side of the sun in superior conjunction. During this time, the changing angle the planet makes with ...

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