Venus “Glory”


Continuing my “baby steps” campaign into the cosmos – a  tireless mission, based on irrepressible enthusiasm and wonder. A cause asking readers to “look at the damn sky”. Discussion of God, religion, and creation myth are strictly forbidden – as are theories and scientific speculation. Gazing skyward – allowing yourself to replace ideological lines in the sand with unabashed “wonder” feels terrific – my pondering knees would collapse into giddy wobbles if so much as one person said “holy crap – thanks for the cosmic nudge”.

ESA (European Space Authority) space orbiter Venus Express captured images of rainbows on Venus. Dubbed “Glory” – “glories “appear as circles of coloured light when sunlight reflects off atmospheric droplets – on Earth, same sized water drops – clouds of Venus contain sulphuric acid. Venus has rainbows people!

After our Sun and Moon, Venus is the brightest object in the sky. On dark nights when the Moon doesn’t steal the show – Venus can actually cast shadows. Only 650 Km circumference smaller than Earth and 80% the mass – Venus is considered our “sister” planet. First visited in 1962 by Mariner, Venus may equal Earth in physical mass – atmosphere on the other hand would squash us like bugs –  93% greater than earth and equivalent to diving a kilometer below the ocean surface. It rotates backwards, with one sluggish day 243 “earth days” from dawn till dusk. It has no moons and writhes with volcanic activity.

Look at the sky and ponder rainbows of Venus.

Because the ecliptic - pathway of the planets - hits the horizon at a shallow angle on March mornings in the Northern Hemisphere, Mercury sits buried in the glare of morning twilight.

Because the ecliptic – pathway of the planets – hits the horizon at a shallow angle on March mornings in the Northern Hemisphere, Mercury sits buried in the glare of morning twilight.

The ecliptic intersects the horizon at a steep angle in the Southern Hemisphere, so Mercury will be easier to see from that part of the world.

The ecliptic intersects the horizon at a steep angle in the Southern Hemisphere, so Mercury will be easier to see from that part of the world.

http://earthsky.org/todays-image/space-rainbow-or-glory-seen-in-venus-atmosphere?utm_source=EarthSky%20News&utm_campaign=912c718343-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-912c718343-393970565

Sky Basics


I talk constantly about the night sky. It occurred to me that people may be so out of touch with the universe, even the simplest reference might elude them. The other day I was asked what the bright light in the sky was; my answer Venus surprised my friend who had no idea the planets were visible.

So here it is; courtesy earthsky.org. This link explains the visible planets.

http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/visible-planets-tonight-mars-jupiter-venus-saturn-mercury

In a day or two I’ll move on to the stars. In no time at all pointing out constellations will become second nature.

Moon, Jupiter, and Venus – thanks, sciencebuzz.org

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=visible+planets&view=detail&id=92FD6BCBD34FF0398193F602A7A7E2B1F22C6963&first=71