A rare feat

15 June 2006

Instructions for viewing the planet Venus during the daytime:

1. Look up when the Moon is both up during the daytime and near Venus. Friday 23 June is a good instance coming up.

2. Go outside. Cover up the Sun with one hand. Do not look directly at the Sun. Then, with the Sun obscured, look for the Moon.

3. Keeping your eyes focused at the distance of the Moon, scan the sky nearby for Venus. It is pretty bright, so the trick is to just kind of relax and scan near the Moon for a minute or two. You’ll know when you see it.

The real problems with finding Venus during the day are figuring out what part of the sky to look in and keeping your eyes focused at the right distance, and having the Moon nearby takes care of both of those.

This is also one of those astronomy events that is cool irrespective of location–this will work as long as the Moon and Venus are both above the horizon. It will be tougher in cities because of air pollution, but the daytime aspect means that for now light pollution is irrelevant.

Don’t listen to the doubters on this one.

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