If you are lucky enough to live in Harrow and you’ve got a clear sky tonight, look up to the sky and you’ll see what appears to be a bright star alongside the crescent moon in the sky. That ‘star’ is actually Venus.
The planet is currently approaching its greatest evening elongation of the year, at which point it appears farthest from the sun. For the best chance of seeing this you should head to an area with no light pollution and look up to the sky in a southwesterly direction to take full advantage of this rarity.
Venus will remain visible until the beginning of April. After that it will head towards the horizon, and by the end of May it will have disappeared entirely.
Venus is known as the “morning star” and “evening star”. People believed that Venus was in fact two different stars appearing in the sky. They were known as Phosphorus and Hesperus by the Greeks, and Lucifer and Vesper by the Romans.
Venus is the second brightest object in the sky. The planet has an apparent magnitude of -3.8 to -4.6, the moon is the only brighter object.
Venus is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. This is widely believed to be due to the brightness of the planet and may date back to the Babylonians in 1581 who referred to Venus as “bright queen of the sky”.
One day on Venus is longer a year. This is due to the slow rotation on its axis, it takes 243 Earth-days to complete just one rotation. The orbit of the planet takes 225 Earth-days, this makes a year on Venus shorter on day on Venus which sounds crazy but is true!.
Venus is also known as Earth’s ‘sister planet’. This is because their size is very close, they are almost identical. Both planets also have a central core.
Venus rotates in the opposite direction to most other planets in the solar system. Most other planets rotate counter-clockwise on their axis, however Venus, like Uranus, rotates clockwise.
People have been sharing photos of the moon and Venus visible in Harrow across social media. If you have any good snaps we would love you to share them in the comments section of our post.
(Image Credit: Adam Williams)