“What’s that really bright one?”

Venus through 8” Skywatcher in January and February 2017

Venus has been putting on a superb show in the early evening sky, rising very high through February, and presently, it’s quite high in the Western sky. When it’s so visible, most amateur astronomers often get friends asking “what was that bright star I saw last night?” I’ve been asked several times over the past couple of months.

I took some photos of Venus through my 8” Skywatcher in early January, and again tonight, and was pleased to be able to capture the both the changes in the apparent size and phases of the planet, as it gets nearer to us on its journey round the sun. I On the 5th January it was approx 111,000,000 km away from the Earth, and today it’s approx 54,000,000km away. It always fascinates me that Mercury and the Venus are the only planets that show Moon-like ‘phases’, being closer to the Sun than us.

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