We’ve missed Venus these past two month, as it’s traveled in smaller, faster orbit behind the sun from Earth’s perspective. But Venus – the brightest planet – is coming back! Hello C. Vital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, told us he could not see Venus with the eye yet, but he did manage to capture it with a zoom lens on June 28. He wrote:
At sunset I started looking for Venus by staring at the LCD monitor of my Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 camera using zoom values ranging from 50 to 150 times.
Surprisingly, after a 3-minute search only, I found it as a conspicuous dot, though it was not visible to the unaided eye.
The magnitude of Venus is currently -3.9 and it is still very close to the sun (only 6.07° away). The planet is returning from its superior conjunction and its distance of 257.6 million km [160 million miles] renders it a small apparent diameter of just 9.8 arcseconds.
This 9-frame animation shows Venus (at 3.6° altitude and 295° azimuth) shortly before hiding behind the summit of a hill located 4 kilometers away between 17:23 and 17:25 (Rio`s time = GMT – 3h).
Note that its apparent path forms an angle of 23° with respect to the vertical direction consistent with Rio`s tropical latitude.
All photos were processed with Photoscape to reduce noise, to adjust contrast and to create the animation.
Thank you, Helio!
Bottom line: Photos and animation of the brightest planet, Venus, setting behind the sun – only 6 degrees from the sun – on June 28, 2016.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded 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.