Venus is the brightest planet in Earth’s sky, and it’s now a blazing light in the west after sunset. It orbits the sun one step inward from Earth. And that’s why, when we gaze at Venus through a telescope, we sometimes see the planet show phases, like a tiny, featureless moon. Venus reached its greatest elongation or greatest apparent distance from the sun on January 12, 2017. At such times, it appears as a tiny half moon through a telescope. Between mid-January and late March – when Venus will pass more or less between Earth and the sun, those watching through telescopes will see Venus decrease in phase. Keep an eye on this page … we’ll post more images as we see them come in!
Bottom line: Photos of waning Venus, January to March 2017.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.