Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 January 6

The Last Days of Venus as the Evening Star

Image Credit & Copyright: Tamas Ladanyi (TWAN)

Explanation: That’s not a young crescent Moon posing behind cathedral towers after sunset. It’s Venus in a crescent phase. About 40 million kilometers away and about 2 percent illuminated by sunlight, it was captured with camera and telephoto lens in this series of exposures as it set in western skies on January 1 from Veszprem, Hungary. The bright celestial beacon was languishing in the evening twilight, its days as the Evening Star coming to a close as 2022 began. But it was also growing larger in apparent size and becoming an ever thinner crescent in telescopic views. Heading toward a (non-judgemental) inferior conjunction, the inner planet will be positioned between Earth and Sun on January 9 and generally lost from view in the solar glare. A crescent Venus will soon reappear though. Rising in the east by mid-month just before the Sun as the brilliant Morning Star.

 

Status Updates: Deploying the James Webb Space Telescope

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