16 Au­gust 2007

Sky at Night Magazine - - THE SKY GUIDE -

Venus’s cres­cent ap­pears to swivel as its in­fe­rior con­junc­tion pro­gresses and the planet moves past the Sun

THE BRIL­LIANT PLANET Venus lines up with the Sun on 15 Au­gust, when it reaches a po­si­tion in its or­bit known as in­fe­rior con­junc­tion. This is when it’s on the earth­ward side of its or­bit, be­tween us and

the Sun. In con­trast, su­pe­rior con­junc­tion oc­curs when it lines up with the Sun on the most dis­tant part of its or­bit.

The line-up is not pre­cise and Venus will pass south of the Sun’s disc. This time round

the dis­tance is re­spectable, with the star and planet be­ing sep­a­rated by around 8º. This means that with care, it’s pos­si­ble to im­age the cres­cent of Venus as it passes through in­fe­rior con­junc­tion. The line from the cen­tre of the planet’s disc, through the thick­est part of the cres­cent, al­ways points to the Sun. Con­se­quently it ap­pears to swivel as Venus passes into the morn­ing sky.

The cres­cent is very thin and great care is re­quired to catch it with a cam­era. We cov­ered how to lo­cate Venus by us­ing the Sun in the Sky Guide last month – you can read an abridged ver­sion of this ar­ti­cle on­line at www. sky­at­night­magazine.com/ fea­ture/how-guide/how-find­im­age-venus. This is not a safe vis­ual tar­get so it’s cam­eras only we’re afraid.

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