The brightest planet Venus has been sitting close to the glare of sunset on these December evenings, 2014. It takes a deliberate effort to see this world at evening dusk. Nikolaos Pantazis captured this beautiful image of Venus on December 18,2014. It’s Venus over the Saronikos Gulf in Greece.
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.
In early December, at mid-northern latitudes like those in Greece or the United States, Venus was 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.
By January, all of us will begin to notice Venus in the evening twilight sky.
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.