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Now a good time to get a peek at Venus

  • Special to The Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, at 12:17 p.m.

Look about 16 degrees above the southeastern horizon at 6 a.m., and you will see a very bright, white-looking star.

But it’s not a star at all; it’s the planet Venus.

For about the next two weeks, Venus will be at its greatest brightness. If you observe the planet out in the country away from city lights, it is bright enough to cast a shadow. You can even spot Venus in broad daylight if you know where to look.

Remember, if you hold your fist out at arm’s length, the distance between the lower and upper part of your fist measures about 10 degrees.

Only the moon is brighter than Venus in the early morning sky. On Feb. 25, the crescent moon will appear less than 1 degree above Venus, making for a spectacular sight.

Through even a small telescope, Venus will appear like a crescent moon. Venus is the second planet in order of distance from the sun. Earth is the third planet from the sun.

Currently, Venus is approximately 38.2 million miles from Earth.

Bob Everoski lives in Halstead and is an astronomer and mathematician. He taught astronomy and space science at various colleges and planetariums, including Friends University and the Burke Baker Planetarium in Houston.

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