Jump to content


Pre-Sunset Naked-Eye Venus

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 Dave Mitsky

Dave Mitsky


  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 37787
  • Joined: 08 Apr 2002
  • Loc: PA, USA, Planet Earth

Posted 16 December 2013 - 05:52 PM

Late this afternoon I was able to see Venus without optical aid before sunset. I swept up the brilliant planet with my 8x42 Celestron binoculars first and then, using the top branch of a tree in my front yard as a reference point, was able to see it naked-eye.

About an hour later, I set up my 80mm f/5 Orion ShortTube 80 achromat and observed Venus. Once again, I utilized my 8-24mm Vixen (17 to 50x) and 3-6mm Tele Vue Nagler (67 to 133x) zoom eyepieces and, once again, I felt that the best view was at 80x (5mm). Venus was 17% illuminated and subtended 48.3" at the time.

Dave Mitsky

#2 aa6ww



  • *****
  • Posts: 1246
  • Joined: 23 Oct 2011
  • Loc: Sacramento, Calif.

Posted 17 December 2013 - 07:19 PM

Saturday early afternoon, I did the same thing. I went out around noon and started doing some solar observing with my SM-90 with my TOA-130, and around 3pm started hunting for Venus. It was very surprised it was so easy to see in broad daylight. First I didn't think it was Venus, thinking it was just a reflection of an airplane. So I grabbed my 15x70 binoculars first and right away noticed what it was.
I was using my Dinkmeier Big Easy Binoviewer at 1.4x with my 24 Panoptics, at 60x for a while, then adjusted the magnification of the binoviewers to give me 2.5x at about 100x and the views were spectacular.
Just around twilight, the contras on the surface became so nice, that I started picking up cream and gray color shading. The seeing was 5/5 and very calm, and the views I got were the absolute best I have ever seen Venus in.
The Planet was still very high in the sky.
As it got darker, I put in an ND3 neutral density filter and replaced the eyepieces with a set of TV 20mm Plossls, and the contras remained excellent. The Planet was at 19% phase and just stunning. The entire perimeter was just razor sharp and the different shades on the planets surface was beautiful. At times I was able to use my 15mm Plossls, for close to 170x, but the best most consistent views views were at 125x with the 20mm Plossls. The planet was so larger, there was really no need to keep the magnification any higher.
These were the best views I have ever had of Venus, but as always, I was alone and my other observing friends were no where to be found.

... Ralph

#3 Dave Mitsky

Dave Mitsky


  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 37787
  • Joined: 08 Apr 2002
  • Loc: PA, USA, Planet Earth

Posted 18 December 2013 - 04:48 PM

Even though there were some wispy clouds in the area, I was able to see Venus again before sunset this afternoon with my optically-unaided eyes.

Dave Mitsky

#4 BrooksObs


    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 989
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2012

Posted 18 December 2013 - 05:02 PM

An interesting fact perhaps worthy of citation here is that, although most of us will marvel at sighting Venus in daylight when it is near its greatest solar elongation, in R.A.Proctor's magnum opus "Old and New Astronomy" (1892) he notes that Venus is visible to the unaided eye in daylight from Cambridge, MA, (i.e. Harvard Observatory) any time the planet is more than 5 degrees from the Sun!

I'm not sure whether that speaks to the quality of observers back then, or to the sheer purity of those long ago skies?


#5 MEE


    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 226
  • Joined: 10 Jul 2010

Posted 29 December 2013 - 02:27 AM

"he notes that Venus is visible to the unaided eye in daylight from Cambridge, MA, (i.e. Harvard Observatory) any time the planet is more than 5 degrees from the Sun"




So I have seen Venus every clear day with the naked eye since Dec 22 using a method that I hadn't tried before.

1. look up the azimuth and altitude of Venus on Stellarium
2. step outside, take out phone with compass feature on
3. find a location that gives an open view to the sky but blocks the sun
4. turn so that compass azimuth matches that of Venus
5. find a reference point in the landscape that approximately matches the azimuth of Venus
6. estimate altitude using the "fist held at arms length is 10 degrees" trick
7. look for Venus using 10x50 binoculars in estimated area.
8. bingo!
9. look for it with the naked eye
10. got it.

Okay, it hasn't always been THAT easy, but I have seen it almost every day for almost a week now. And none of those days were "high altitude mountain blue". (sightings have been made from Houston and Dallas) In fact, yesterday's sky (the 28th) was not even a crisp blue by Texas standards (Dallas).

I'll try to spot it as many days as possible before conjunction-- but I'll be careful not to look for it too close to the sun.

I had seen Venus numerous times before sunset but mostly using the "it's near the moon" trick. This is the first time I had looked for it using the altitude/ azimuth trick. I also don't remember seeing Venus in daylight this close to the sun before (not that I've tried).

Another notable thing (for me): on the 23rd I actually saw Venus while it was in the southeast (about 11 a.m.)-- BEFORE it crossed the meridian (while it was BELOW the sun). The only other time I've done that was back in the mid-90's when it was farther in elongation from the sun (but it was to the west of the sun that time, so I had seen it in the morning before sunrise but then followed it at various points in the day, seeing it for the last time that day in mid afternoon when it was about 25 degrees up in the southwest (again, BELOW the sun).

I think it may have been Jan 27, 1995 when the moon was about 1 degree away in the predawn sky. (That event was SPECTACULAR in binoculars...)

Keeping my fingers crossed re: the weather.


Edited by MEE (12/29/13 02:25 AM)

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics