Planet Venus – ‘A Lighthouse as Darkness Falls’

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Image Giorgia Hofer (see spaceweather.com link below)

Venus has been very easy to spot in the clear evening skies of late, easy enough for my little one to spot every evening (and Jupiter which has been overhead but West). Catch it whilst you can.

Brilliant Venus in west dusk until mid-evening. Venus – brightest planet and third-brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon – climbs higher up at dusk, and stays out later after dark, than it did in March 2015.

Do not miss the sky at nightfall, around April 11. It’s your chance to see the sky’s brightest planet coupling up with the Pleiades star cluster. Bring your binoculars, if you have them to view Venus and the Pleiades taking stage in a single binocular field…

The waxing crescent moon swings close to Venus for several days, centered on April 21.

Throughout April 2015, brilliant Venus beams like a lighthouse as darkness falls! Be sure to catch Venus at dusk and early evening from temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, because this world follows the sun beneath the horizon by early evening. At mid-northern latitudes, Venus stays out longer after dark, possibly until after your bedtime.

At mid-northern latitudes, this dazzling world sets about three hours aftersunset in early April. The queen planet’s visibility improves throughout April, setting about three and one-half hours after the sun by the month’s end.

http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/visible-planets-tonight-mars-jupiter-venus-saturn-mercury

REFLECTIONS OF VENUS: 

How bright is Venus? Just look at the snow in this picture taken April 9th by Giorgia Hofer from a mountaintop in Belluno, Italy:

Hofer went outside after sunset to watch the ongoing conjunction between Venus and the Pleiades (note the star cluster just above Venus in Hofer’s photo) “I set up my camera on Giau Pass over Cortina d’Ampezzo,” she says. “Venus created a reflection of its light on the frozen snow ”

Among all the stars and planets in the night sky, only the Moon is brighter than Venus. Because of its intensity, Venus can do things normally reserved for the sun and Moon–such as casting shadows or making snowy reflections.

When the sun goes down tonight, step outside for your own Venus experience. Look west as the sky fades to black. The glaring Goddess of Love is only 2.5o from the Seven Sisters. It’s a nice way to end the day.

http://spaceweather.com/archive.php?view=1&day=11&month=04&year=2015