Venus Moon Size Comparison

On the morning of 17 June 2020, the Moon presented this nice crescent. The camera was at full zoom.

Eight days later, Venus presented in the same place at the same time with the same crescent shape. The camera was again at full zoom. The images are to scale.

Crescent of Venus

Evening views of Venus have been beautiful. The planet is passing us in orbit and by the end of May will be hidden in the glare of the Sun. It will emerge again in June but as a morning object.

Last evening was clear and cold, providing a perfect view of Venus. With the camera mounted on a tripod and fully zoomed, the crescent was obvious. A small telescope or steadied binoculars will work, too. Give it a try. Your evening opportunities are waning.

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS | 1/500s | ISO=400 | 9:21pm

Daytime View of Venus

The evening views of Venus high in the western sky have been beautiful. It shines bright and strong reflecting sunlight from its dense atmosphere. Today, the sky here was exceptionally clear and blue offering an opportunity to view bright Venus in the daytime. Software said it would be passing due south at about 3:40 pm and be elevated 75˚ above the horizon. I mounted the camera on a tripod and positioned myself below the edge of the roofline which points south. It was easy to find the bright speck of light from Venus against the blue sky.

Next, I put the camera in video mode and slowly panned upward along the edge of the roofline seen at the right edge. This 10 sec clip shows the planet moving from top to bottom slightly right of center. If you are viewing with a mobile phone, it might not be visible. It clearly shows on a computer monitor. That roaring sound is not Venus. It is the neighbor mowing his lawn. 🙂

COVID-19 Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS)

Fellow blogger and astronomer Roger in Australia treats us to some beautiful images seen in his southern skies within Cosmic Focus. Give it a look. Today, he explained how government limits on travel have made it difficult and maybe costly for him to venture out to dark viewing locations. He was confused by how we Americans seem more casual about the COVID outbreak and restrictions given we are being hit very hard. I commented how I was not happy with our ‘leadership’ from the high offices. We should do better.

In his post he spoke of astronomers and campers who gathered at a remote site in a US desert to observe Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS). No such choices are available for me in the middle of the country. We’ve suffered many clouds and now late winter weather. The forecast for tonight calls for several inches of snow in a winter storm. Fortunately, I can request images from a telescope at a desert site run by the University of Iowa Astronomy and Physics dept.

C/2019 Y4 was on track to be at its brightest here in May. Recent observations show it breaking up and won’t turn out as predicted. About the time that news was unfolding, I got five images from the Iowa telescope on April 8, 11, 15, 17 and 18. Each was a 90 sec exposure with a luminance filter.

Gemini | U of IA Dept of Astronomy and Physics | 8 April 2020

Gemini | U of IA Dept of Astronomy and Physics | 11 April 2020

Gemini | U of IA Dept of Astronomy and Physics | 15 April 2020

Gemini | U of IA Dept of Astronomy and Physics | 17 April 2020

Gemini | U of IA Dept of Astronomy and Physics | 18 April 2020

Gemini | U of IA Dept of Astronomy and Physics | 19 April 2020