It’s Venus

I’ve now been an astronomy professor long enough that I’ve started getting contacted by strangers who’ve seen something in the sky and want to know what it is.

If you’ve noticed a very bright object in the southwestern sky at sundown, that would be our evening star, the planet Venus, which is at its brightest tonight.

5 Responses

  1. Have you been contacted by any Magi?

  2. For anyone living in the city or the suburbs, Venus is very easy to identify. Along with the moon, it is pretty well the only heavenly body bright enough to be seen through the ambient light.

    My home is about three miles outside the village on a minor road and visitors from the town are frequently astonished by the number of stars visible. One 14-year old boy, standing n the stable yard, remarked that it was “like something on TV” – The only place they are likely to see them.

    I remember telling a fellow-advocate, a keen gardener, who lives in Morningside (a very up-market suburb of Edinburgh ) that we can always predict a hard frost by counting the number of stars visible in the Seven Sisters (as we country-folk call the Pleiades). Alas, in Edinburgh, the street lights render them quite invisible.

  3. Apparently there are plenty of really uneducated strangers where you live. Seriously, this is elementary school matter. Can’t they find the Polaris by the Big Dipper method either? Basic childhood scout like stuff or not having completely dimwit parents kind of stuff…

  4. I suspect you’d be amazed at the range of basic competencies which the average American lacks.

  5. I figured you were a philosopher or an historian but I never would have guessed a philosopher or historian of science.

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