(Astronomy alert: this article is more astronomy than astrology)
Today I saw Venus in the middle of the day, with my naked eyes! It was awesome! I’d heard that it could be done, and I’m not sure why it took me so long to achieve. Since She was at Her brightest today, I actually put it in my calendar so that I wouldn’t forget! But let’s start from the beginning…
This picture shows Venus exactly at Sunrise (not the middle of the day). She was much more obvious in real life than in this cellphone photo. She was glaringly obvious, since She is by far the brightest thing in the sky after Sun and Moon. In fact, She’s currently 23 times brighter than the brightest star, Sirius. That’s kind of hard to believe right? But it’s true.
So I know that’s not a very exciting photo. So I’ve zoomed in on this inner planet to make it more exciting for you:
Weird shape you have there Venus! Well, not all bodies are made the same 😆. Of course, this blob is mostly the result of poor camera resolution. But I looked through my binoculars, and I thought I saw a crescent shape, like the crescent of the Moon.
So I took out my better camera and got this shot:
Much better! Yes there is certainly a crescent. The rounded portion is facing the Sun.
Here She is zoomed in:
Pixelated, yes, but clearly a crescent.
Venus has phases like the Moon, caused by the geometry between Earth, Sun and Venus. And therefore, she changes brightness in response to her perceived distance from the Sun. As she waxes, She should get brighter, wouldn’t you think? Not necessarily…For example, just today, Venus’ illumination increased from 22.8% to 23.2% in the ~10 hours it took for Her to traverse the daytime sky (data from using Stellarium). However, She also moved father from the Earth — so this increased distance negated the larger surface area that we can see at 23.2%.
When you take into consideration how far Venus is from us with her illumination, you can figure out which day Venus will be at Her most bright, and that just happened to be today, February 9th 2022, according to https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20220209_11_100.
A couple hours after Sunrise, I scanned the sky for Venus, knowing about how far She was from the Sun. I could not find her with my naked eyes. So I looked with my binoculars and found her. Then removing the binoculars, I was able to see Her in full daylight. I did this again a could hours later. However, by the time Venus was about 15˚ above the Western horizon, in the afternoon, I could no longer find her (I didn’t have my binoculars at that time). As a planet gets closer to the horizon, it becomes dimmer due to all the atmosphere you have to look through.
I don’t have anything brilliant to say about what this means astrologically. I just think it’s amazing that we are able to see a planet in the middle of the day (and don’t worry, you should be able to see Venus for several days at least as it will continue to be near maximum brightness for quite some time.) I also think it’s amazing that we can see its phase with binoculars. I also think it’s amazing that the phase and distance from Earth work together to give such interesting results. For example, Venus is comparatively huge when it’s near it’s New phase, but it’s impossible to see because it’s too close to the Sun. And when it’s in near its Full phase, it’s so far from us that it’s a tiny dot — which is the exact opposite of it’s divine consort Mars. Wikipedia has an excellent picture of it’s sizes and phases:
So let’s revel in Venus’ unique ability to share the Day with Sun and Moon. Venus has so many special qualities, and this is just one more. If you get a chance to find Her this month, let me know and share a picture if you take one!