After the Sun and the Moon, Venus is the brightest object in our sky, and it attracts a lot of attention because of its brilliance. Venus is completely covered with a uniform blanket of clouds, so through a telescope there is not much to see except for its slowly changing phases as it orbits the Sun. When its orbit brings it close to Earth and almost directly between us and the Sun, Venus appears as a large thin crescent, as in this image.

Image details:  A composite of about 20 exposures, each 0.1 seconds, taken with a Meade LPI imager through a Meade 12-inch telescope at f/10.

March 13, 2009