In just 110 days of galactic travel towards the direction of the sun beholds the vehement planet Venus. Our closest planetary neighbor’s destiny has succumbed to an inferno.
While explosive, liquid lava dominates it’s surface, what lies under, is a solid and cold place- keeping the mystery of this planet subsistent. Because Venus is Earth’s closest neighbor and is the second planet from the Sun, the planet beams bright. In fact, it’s the third brightest night sky wonder behind the sun and moon.
Venus first debuts along the horizon just around dusk or dawn. Furthermore, Venus is also known as the “Morning Star” and “Evening Star”. This planet reigns supreme in our night sky through out the year but it depends on Earth’s orbit as to whether Venus shines in the morning or evening. It breaks down to about 9.5 months as the Morning Star and 9.5 months as the Evening Star.
It’s in the fortune of this planet’s spot in our solar system that we get to embrace Venus easily in the night sky.
Did you know that Venus has phases similar to the moon when observed from Earth? It’s true.
The Phases of Venus
Venus is an inferior planet, which means Venus orbits around the Sun within the Earth’s orbit. Because of this, telescope observers will notice a change in appearance of the planet just like that of the moon.
When Venus orbits around the Earth, it’s illuminated side rotates towards and away from us, giving such phases that wax and wane.
- When Venus is aligned and opposite from the Earth and Sun, Venus will be full
- When Venus is at its peak elongation from the Sun, it will reach a quarter phase
- When Venus comes around to the near side between the Earth and the Sun, it will be at a crescent phase
- When Venus is between the Earth and Sun, it will be at its new phase.
Venus rotates extremely slow so the phases are not on the same timeline as the moon. It takes approximately 584 days for Venus to go from a new phase to full phase. One day on Venus is equal to 243 days on Earth. If that’ not alluring enough, Venus also rotates backwards.
Unlike the moon, Venus has a very active atmosphere and is enshrouded by a thick blanket of white clouds. These characteristics reflect increased illumination with the rays of sunlight, so even when Venus is at a new phase, observers are still able to catch a halo of the planet.
To find out Venus’s current phase visit Wolfram Alpha.
Venus is an incredible planet, just like all of the planets in our solar system. Though Venus packs a mysterious punch as to why it has a torched surface, fierce atmosphere yet a cold core; nevertheless, the planet offers any night sky seeker a mesmerizing view.