Venus is known as the sister of Earth as they are of the same size and proximity ignoring the extreme temperature of Venus. However, two-thirds of the planet is covered in thick clouds. With the telescope, it is impossible to see the surface features of Venus. The thick clouds reflect the light so brightly that it looks like a star. The beginners after getting their first telescope craze for observing the moon and then the planet Venus. This article will guide you on when and where to look at the sky to find it with tips to get the best view.
Using a star chart is recommended to observe Venus.
Venus is not hard to find after sunset as it is the brightest among all night sky objects. You must look west about 40 degrees above the horizon to see it. If you are a beginner, you can take help from the star charts or astronomy apps on the internet. StarLust app has a comprehensive guide so that you can observe Venus easily through your telescope.
How to find Venus?
Step 1: Make sure that Venus is in the Sky
Make sure you know where and when to look for Venus in the sky from any astronomy app like earthsky, starLust, etc.
Step 2 – Finding Venus Without A Telescope
Venus is the brightest object in the sky. It appears low on the eastern horizon most of the time. It will help you to find Venus easily through the telescope.
Step 3 – Finding Venus With A Small Telescope
Make sure your telescope is well-aligned and use low to medium magnification eyepiece. Point the telescope to Venus. Magnify the view for better observation.
What is the best time to observe Venus?
The best time for planetary observation is when it is the closest to us on Earth. Venus is the second and Earth is the third closest planet to the Sun. That means Venus precedes the Sun in its path, so it will not be visible in the middle of the night. You have to look for it at the beginning or the end of the night.
The greatest elongation of Venus (the perfect angle between the Earth and the Sun) is about 46 degrees that occur once or a maximum of twice a year. During the greatest elongation, Venus can be seen on the horizon for 3 hours before sunrise and 3 hours after sunset.
When is Venus at its brightest in the sky?
Generally, we can see Venus at its greatest brightness twice a year. It starts getting brighter gradually from the beginning of January until it reaches its first peak in March at the magnitude of -3.9. Then the luminosity gradually drops throughout the next three months. From the middle of July, the brightness again starts enhancing gradually and reaches its greatest brightness in December at a magnitude of -4.88.
4 Tips to observe Venus in the best way.
- Venus is the first shiny dot that appears in the evening sky and the last one to disappear in the morning. It is known as the ‘evening star’ or ‘morning star’.
- The imaginary path the planets follow around the sun is called the ecliptic which changes slightly throughout the year. The lowest position occurs at the winter solstice and the highest position happens at the summer solstice.
- Venus is not far from the Sun.
- To get the best view, you need to reduce the glare. A 25% moon filter helps greatly with this. A dark blue or red filter can reveal a lot of details with the upper cloud. Yellow or green colored filter enhances overall contrast by reducing glare.
What can you see on Venus with a telescope?
Photo: The phases of Venus
- We cannot see the surface of Venus and its details because of the thick clouds covering it. What we see is in fact the clouds of Venus.
- Just like our moon, every month, Venus gradually transforms from full to gibbous to crescent and then disappears until the new Venus phase appears.
What telescope to see Venus?
Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ Refractor, Sky-Watcher Classic 6-inch Dobsonian, and Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ Newtonian Reflector are great telescopes to see Venus. A list of telescopes to see Venus has more telescope options that can see Venus very clearly.
What size telescope to see Venus?
Venus can be seen by any type of binoculars or telescope. Even with the 2.5-inch aperture telescope, it looks really great—however, the larger the aperture, the better the view.
What magnification is required to see Venus?
The phases of Venus can be seen in telescopes at 50x magnification. To see the disk-like view and the details, you should use a telescope with at least 100 mm aperture at a magnification of 200-250x.
Enjoying Venus? Here are other things to see with a telescope.
List of things to see with a telescope shortlists several night sky objects you can observe with the same telescope you use to see Venus. The moon appears with its craters, planets of the solar system reveal their secrets. Saturn shows its amazing rings and Jupiter comes up with its moons. Distant objects like galaxies and nebulae show their shapes and stars inside.