Venus, the brightest of all planets, sits close to the glare of sunset in December, 2014, and it’ll take a deliberate effort to see this world at evening dusk. That’s one reason the photo above – by Karoline Mrazek and Erwin Matys of Austria’s Project Nightflight – is so wonderful. These astrophotographers captured Venus on December 2, 2014 above an Atlantic Ocean sunset while visiting the Spanish Canary Islands.
In early December, at mid-northern latitudes like those in the United States, Venus is setting only about 30 minutes after sunset. It’ll be setting much farther behind the sun – about 75 minutes after sunset – by New Year’s.
Be sure to watch the skies on December 22, December 23 and December 24, when the waxing crescent moon will be back in the evening sky, moving up first Venus and then Mars in the western twilight. Find an unobstructed horizon in the direction of sunset, and bring along binoculars, if you have them, to enhance the view.
Thank you, Karoline Mrazek and Erwin Matys of Project Nightflight!
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.