Evening “star” and Christmas Star

If you look in the west shortly after sunset, you’ll see Venus, too.

View larger. | Evening Star (Venus) and a Christmas Star. New Albany, Indiana, by Duke Marsh.

View larger. | Evening ‘star’ – really, the planet Venus – and a Christmas Star over New Albany, Indiana. Photo by Duke Marsh.

If you’ve been watching the western sky after sunset, you know there’s a bright object shining there: the planet Venus. It’s the brightest planet – the brightest object in the night sky besides the moon – and pops into view before any star, as darkness falls each evening. EarthSky Facebook friend Duke Marsh of New Albany, Indiana captured shining Venus, which is often called the evening “star,” with another star of the holiday season. Thank you, Duke.

Venus will soon drop into the sun’s glare. It’ll become difficult to find by about the second week of January 2014. If you look for it tonight, you’ll find Venus in bright twilight. Don’t wait too long after sunset, because Venus soon follows the sun below the western horizon.

Happy holidays to all!

EarthSky visible planet guide

Deborah Byrd