Now is a good time to observe Venus as it shines brightly in the West. It is impossible to miss. Just look West after sunset and the brightest object seen (other than the Moon) is Venus.

The appearance through a telescope can be qute striking to one unfamiliar with the inner planets as they exhibit phases just like the moon. I recall the time I showed it to someone on a night when the moon was out and he thought I was pulling his leg and pointing at the moon.

The similarity ends with the shape as there is virtually nothing to see but the very dense cloud cover.

Another factor that makes observing difficult is that as Venus gets closer to the earth, it increases greatly in size but the crescent gets thinnner as it gets closer. So, when it is very close, there is nothing to see. As it gets farther away, it waxes into a full disk but is about 6 times smallerin apparent size.

The image on the left was taken in 1999 and the one on the right in 1997. They are both video frames through the 16" telescope.

All photos taken with the...

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