Starwatch: Venus, the morning star, greets the dawn in glory

Starwatch chart 1 April 2019 Venus and moon

The planet Venus is a glorious sight in the morning sky, shining brilliantly around magnitude –3. (On the magnitude scale, the smaller the number, the brighter the object.) It is the third brightest object in the sky, beaten only by the sun and moon. From the northern hemisphere, Venus rises about an hour before the sun. At the beginning of this week, it will be joined in the dawn sky by the moon. The chart shows their positions at 0630 BST on 2 April. The moon will be a slim waning crescent with just 9% of its surface illuminated. From northern latitudes, it will be a distinct challenge to see, as the moon will rise only about 30 minutes before the sun, so skywatchers will need a very clear eastern horizon. From the southern hemisphere, the pair will rise about an hour earlier. A day later, the moon will disappear from view as it passes the sun to re-emerge in the evening sky. New moon occurs on 5 April but it won’t be visible in light of sunset until a day or two after this. Remember, never look directly at the sun, it is so bright that it can cause permanent eye damage.


Leave a Reply