See Venus in broad daylight on Wednesday

By Phil Plait | March 20, 2007 9:14 pm

BABloggee nowoo reminded me of something: Venus and the moon are very close in the sky right now. I happened to catch them an hour after sunset, and they make a lovely couple.

But this propitious pairing allows you to try something that is in general very hard to do: see Venus in the middle of the day! By itself, Venus is tough to spot when the Sun is up, but the Moon — even when a thin crescent — is a lot easier. It’s not easy, just easier.

If you go out in the afternoon, say 3-ish or so, Venus and the Moon will be close to due south. How high above the horizon they are will depend on your position; go to Heavens Above to see where they will be (enter your coordinates or the nearest city and it’ll do the rest for you). Look for the crescent Moon… use binoculars if you have a pair (but be careful not to look anywhere near the Sun; I won’t be responsible for boiling aqueous humors).

Once you spot Venus in binoculars, keep your head and eyes in the same position and lower the binocs. Bang! Venus.

Well, again, this ain’t easy, and may take you a few minutes. But doing this method allowed me to see Venus in broad daylight many years ago. I’m hoping to be able to do it this time too, weather permitting.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Science
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