Goddess of Love Returns

Jul 20, 2017
Venus, Goddess of Love
NASA

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Look for Venus to hover spectacularly to the left of the crescent Moon on Friday evening, December 2, and to dangle below the Moon the next night, Saturday. And she will continue to shine! Read on …

This Evening Star’s been missing since July.  We miss her! The blaze of Venus in evening twilight has been a beloved sight for countless centuries and an obsession for cultures as disparate as the Babylonians and the Maya.

Our “Sister Planet” has instead lurked either invisibly on the far side of the Sun, lost in glare, or else as a Morning Star gracing the pre-dawn heavens for early risers, insomniacs, and those on the Graveyard shift.

But that’s changing right now. These past few weeks you may have already glimpsed Venus. She’s that single super-bright “star” low in evening twilight soon after sunset. The planet hovers to the upper left of the exact sunset position, in Sagittarius.

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No need to know stars and constellations. For that matter, you don’t even need to look for Venus. She will find you. During the next two months, Venus will gain both brilliance and elevation each evening at nightfall. If you’re out taking a stroll or returning from work during this time of super-early sunsets, she’ll catch your eye. As a bonus, Venus will perform several eye-catching conjunctions.

Not only will Venus shine near the crescent Moon on Friday evening, December 2 and Saturday, December 3. Throughout December, January, and February she will double in brightness, gain even more height, and have some more conjunctions with the Moon and with Mars, too. The best is yet to come.

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Why not grab a seat in the Evening Star Reviewing Stand right now, the next clear evening, for a sneak preview? Venus often inspired the Maya to perform human sacrifices. Since these days  most municipal ordinances discourage such exuberance, our own price of admission is not as steep.

Discover more about Venus, sometimes called Earth’s evil twin! She’s lovely, but toxic.

About This Blog

Welcome to “This Week’s Amazing Sky,” the Almanac’s blog on stargazing and astronomy. Bob Berman, longtime and famous astronomer for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, will help bring alive the wonders of our universe. From the beautiful stars and planets to magical auroras and eclipses, he covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob, the world’s mostly widely read astronomer, also has a new weekly podcast, Astounding Universe

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