Sunday, January 29, 2006

Daylight Venus Two Days in a Row

Venus_20060126_h195p.jpg Date: 26-Jan-2006 @ 12:30p EST
Magnitude/Size: —4.4 / 57.5"
Alt./Az. (Venus): 28.6° / 209.6°
Elongation: 20.7° West
Illumination/Phase: 6.2% / 151.1°
Alt./Az. (Sun): 30.4° / 185.9°

Conditions for viewing Venus in daylight today were exceptional. It was cold again and the skies were blue and cloudless. Needless to say no one was there in Bryant Park viewing Venus post inferior conjunction while the Sun was up!

Click image for U.S. Naval Observatory's ‘Apparent Disk of Solar System Object’. The image was created for the time of the sighting. Click here for a full list of ‘Data Services’ from the USNO.

Venus is now west of the Sun. My last sighting of Venus was when it was 7° east of Sol — pre-inferior conjunction.

The recent sighting was made with 8.5x42 binoculars. After spotting it in the bins I found it naked eye. The optically unaided view was relatively easy. The planet was steadily seen without the difficulties I was having when Venus was only 0.7% illuminated.

My attempt to find it first, without binoculars, was frustrated by mentally swapping the elevation of Venus with the Sun's altitude.

Inferior conjunction (i.c.) occurred on the 13th of January 2006. Next i.c. happens on August 17th 2007. At the next i.c. Venus' elevation will be close to 55° as it crosses the meridian. This is approximately 25° higher than the recent pass.

Maybe attempts to see the crescent in August next year will be more fruitful.

Addendum: On the 27th of January the skies were clear again so I went out to get a quick glimpse of Venus. While walking along Madison Ave. I happened to look up to the place I thought Venus should be and there it was! This was around 12:10pm. Venus was 30° high. The altitude of the Sun was 31°.