The Return of Venus!

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mike a feist
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The Return of Venus!

Post by mike a feist »

17th Feb 2018: After the Sun had disappeared behind Southwick Hill, I scanned the horizon in the west at 1720 with handheld 10x50 monocular and soon located VENUS about a fov above the hill. This was through the upper west facing window. Managed a few photographs (camera only) as it passed across the cables of the pylons, and followed with 50mm Endurance spotting scope on a tripod until the planet disappeared into a low band of cloud at about 1729. regards maf (nb. warning do not try this if the Sun it up!!!)
jeff.stevens
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by jeff.stevens »

Well done, Mike. I haven't caught sight of Venus yet. Both opportunities I've had were thwarted by very low cloud on the horizon. However, I did catch the slender crescent Moon, and that was a beautiful sight. I believe the Moon was showing a 3.3% illuminated disk.

I'll look forward to catching sight of Venus, hopefully this week.

Best wishes, Jeff.
jeff.stevens
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by jeff.stevens »

After a gorgeous day of clear skies and sunshine, I have finally managed to make my first observation of Venus for this apparition.

I started trying to detect Venus with an 8x56 binocular just before 5:00pm, with the Sun still about three degrees above the horizon. I could stand close enough to a garden fence to hide it from view. By 5:08pm I just managed to focus on the very delicate point of light that was Venus. I think this is probably one of the more challenging daylight observations of Venus that I have made. By 5:17pm it was easy to spot in my 8x56. It took me until 5:36pm before I could make a definitive unaided eye observation, and then by 5:42pm it was much easier to spot with the unaided eye. By 5:55pm, it was just drifting into some spindly tree branches, and getting a little too low for me to observe.

I tried to see if I could spot Mercury, but I was unable to see it. Looking at forthcoming events, I see Mercury will be just over a degree to the immediate right of Venus on Saturday 3rd March. Fingers crossed for clear skies.

The waxing gibbous Moon did look very crisp, set against a pale blue sky. There was a very strong Belt of Venus effect over on the eastern horizon, with a very noticeable pink band sitting above the darker blue band on the horizon. All in all a glorious afternoon.

Best wishes, Jeff.
RMSteele
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by RMSteele »

A glorious afternoon indeed Jeff and it looked set fair for a clear night, but no; clouded out by 9ish as I was trying to catch up on some variables. Mira seems to have faded a bit, though still between mag 3 and 4. I envy you and Mike being able to catch Venus so low in the west. No such luck yet, I shall try for Venus and Mercury in March. The trouble with Venus is that it takes so long to come around to an evening elongation again. Not sure if I can climb out of the upstairs window onto the flat roof with my small scope anymore for a better view to the west!
Kind thoughts to you both, Bob
jeff.stevens
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by jeff.stevens »

I can appreciate it's frustrating if things are blocking your view, Bob. I am indeed relatively fortunate in being able to see down to about 4 degrees in the west-southwest, for about 15 degrees width of sky.

I got home last night and saw clear skies, so I rushed out to make an observation, only to find a low bank of cloud covering the only part of the sky I was interested in. Hey ho.

Anyway, this evening I have been much more fortunate. Despite a bank of cloud being in almost the identical area, it cleared quickly, and by 5:35pm I could see Venus using an 8x56. At this time Venus was approximately 10 degrees above the west-southwest horizon (azimuth 248 degrees). I was able to follow it until 6:08pm, when it was five degrees above the horizon and only minutes away from disappearing behind distant rooftops. By this time it was very bright in the 8x56 - Starry Night is showing the apparent magnitude as -3.91. I was able to pick it up with the unaided eye at 5:45pm.

Mercury would have been 2.5 degrees to the lower right, but I was unable to detect it. I wonder if it will brighten enough to be seen on Saturday (weather permitting) when it will be to the immediate right of Venus? Or will it require more aperture?

Best wishes, Jeff.
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by jeff.stevens »

Success at last in spotting Mercury. The grey cloud and rain of the afternoon cleared, by some miracle, and so I was able to detect Mercury, using an 8x56 binocular, at 6:05pm. Mercury was a little over a degree to the upper right of Venus, as shown in the attached crude sketch. Venus was about eight degrees above the horizon, right in between the west-southwest and the west.

I'm really chuffed to have seen Mercury, given the relatively few opportunities that there are to see it during any given year. I managed to follow it for about 15 minutes, before some low cloud swept over. Hope others have been successful in observing it. Venus is looking much brighter now, and climbing a little higher.

Best wishes, Jeff.
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RMSteele
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by RMSteele »

A skilful observation and an impressive sketch Jeff - it needs to go in Popular Astronomy magazine. It's good to see some activity. Just clouds, night and fog here. Regards to you, Bob
mike a feist
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by mike a feist »

Sunday 4th March 2018,1815-1820. From the street.using 7-21X50 Minolta (at x7) and 15x50 monocular, both handheld. First located VENUS and then the fainter MERCURY up to the right of that both soon lost to cloud. regards maf.
jeff.stevens
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by jeff.stevens »

Many thanks Bob, I'm sorry to hear you haven't had clear skies. I think I was extremely lucky, as it was back to solid cloud cover a short while later. I did find Mercury a tricky observation, although it gradually became easier to focus on as each minute ticked by. I'd forgotten that it needs some patience, concentration and very steady holding of the bino.

Mike - I'm glad you have spotted t too. As I looked at it I wondered if you would be out watching at the same time. I seem to recall reading an interesting article, many years ago, about the probability of how many people would be observing Mercury at the same time. I think it was a very low number, given that at any given opportunity the window to observe Mercury is so short.

Best wishes, Jeff.
jeff.stevens
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by jeff.stevens »

I have been blessed with clear skies again, and succeeded in making another observation of Venus and Mercury.

It was 6:00pm when I had chance to observe, by which time Mercury was just visible in an 8x56 binocular, in the same field of view as Venus. The two were separated by 2 degrees and 15 arcminutes. Venus was approximately ten degrees above the horizon, in between the west and the west-southwest.

By 6:30pm I could see Mercury with the unaided eye, and Venus was just about to disappear in some low spindly tree branches. By this stage Mercury was eight degrees above the horizon.

Best wishes, Jeff.
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RMSteele
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by RMSteele »

At last, a view of Venus for a few seconds in a narrow cloud gap at 17.20 in 15x63 binocs. Quickly veiled again and no sign of Mercury in the narrow and fleeting reveal. The low Sun played pretty pink and green fringes across the moody cloud brows further to the right of the pearly planet. Regards, Bob
jeff.stevens
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by jeff.stevens »

Excellent! Glad you got to see it, however fleeting, Bob.

Best wishes, Jeff.
mike a feist
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by mike a feist »

VENUS & MERCURY: 8th March 2018: 1805 - 1855: Venus set at 1842 and Mercury at 1855...behind Southwick Hill when observed from an upper west-facing window. Sky clear. Used 15x50 monocular (first handheld & then mounted), Endurance 12-36x50 spotter and 7-21x35 zoom binocular. Both planets visible to unaided eye towards the end. regards maf
Last edited by mike a feist on Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
jeff.stevens
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by jeff.stevens »

Mike/Bob, I managed a very fleeting glance of the pair this evening. Venus was just dipping out of view, at six degrees above the horizon, and Mercury almost nine degrees at 6:35 pm. Mercury was visible with the unaided eye, although it did take some concentration. They appear to be separated by two degrees and forty acrminutes now.

They make a very nice pairing over towards the West. With the two in close apparent proximity, I do get the sense of looking in on the solar system. I was grateful for even the five minutes of clear sky I had.

Cycling home through the lanes this evening, I was watching glimpses of the sun setting amongst some angry looking storm clouds over on the horizon. It's fascinating watching the changes in the sky, the subtle changes of colour. I was treated to some delightful crepuscular rays, and then a gorgeous orange bloom onto the dark storm clouds which lasted for about 5 minutes. I kept stopping to take a few pictures along the way, to keep for the diary. I did wonder if I would be lucky enough to get clear skies by the time I got home, and sure enough I did - albeit briefly.

I notice on the 18th March, the 2% illuminate crescent Moon will join them. I hope we are all blessed with clear skies for that event.

Best wishes, Jeff.
RMSteele
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Re: The Return of Venus!

Post by RMSteele »

A fruitless search for Venus with binoculars in the cloud gaps, but by way of compensation saw 3 barn owls hunting low over the field and hovering over 2 foxes who were also looking for their tea. A kestrel fluttered on the sidelines. Shame the field is going to be built over and all the wildlife evicted. Bob
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