Venus and Neptune

Venus will pass about one degree from Neptune on January 12th. The two will be quite close for several days, under 3°, from the 10th to the 15th, with close approach on the 12th. As the two are located high in the evening sky they are well placed for observation. This is an opportunity to find the distant ice giant with no difficulty at all. A telescope is required to see Neptune, at about 8th magnitude Neptune is about 60,000x dimmer than Venus shining at -4 magnitude. Check a chart for proper identification, there are several moderately bright stars in the region to confuse with the dim planet. On the 12th, a 6.9 mag star will directly between the two. The odd green-blue color of Neptune should help distinguish the planet.

Postcard from the Universe – Moon and Venus

Last night the Moon and Venus were a mere 2.5° apart. I tried to look for the pair after sunset, but all I was able to see was a dim glow in the clouds. My friend Maureen was luckier, she was able to catch the pair through a gap in the clouds while the same clouds were lit up by the sunset. I am just a little jealous…

Luna & Venus
A thin crescent Moon and Venus in the sunset, photo by Maureen Salmi, used with permission