Venus Is Really Bright!

I live in a city with terrible light pollution but for the last week or so Venus (and Neptune which is close by relatively) are really really bright. It’s really neat to see.

Are you using a telescope? Neptune cannot be seen with the naked eye.

However Venus is indeed very bright now, at about magnitude -4. It is by far the brightest thing in the sky right now except for the sun and the moon. It’s about 15 arcseconds in diameter and almost 75% lit.

I think I can confirm this. Bucharest is going through a period of really clear sky. On Thursday night I was pleasantly surprised to see Venus up when no ‘other’ stars had not become visible yet.

Traditionally Romanians have special names for the first star to show up at dusk and the last star to keep twinkling at dawn. (Those names do not have an English translation, but they are equivalent to Evening Bright Star and Morning Bright Star.) The people who originally picked those names probably had no idea that it was one and the same star, which was in fact a planet.

They may not have known it was one and the same celestial body, but they probably knew it was a planet - in the sense that it moved against the background of the fixed (in human timescale) stars.

Me the other night, while out walking the dog with my wife:
“Wow, Venus is bright tonight. And that must be Jupiter… no, wait, that’s an airplane.” :smack:

English does in fact have standard terms “Evening Star” and “Morning Star”, both of which generally refer to Venus. Maybe that’s only one word each in Romanian, but it’s not a novel concept.

On edit, I see I have been ninja’ed. Yes, “Morning Star” and “Evening Star” are common names for Venus in English.

The Morning Star has names like Phosphorus, Lucifer, Aurvandil, etc.; similarly the Evening Star (Hesperos, Vesper, etc.), but if you wanted to stick with English you would call it the Morning Star, Dawn-Bringer or similar, up to your poetic abilities, what else?

It is Lucifer, indeed, because the Latin word for ‘shining’ is lucet. They say Venus will be soaring high between late winter and early spring this year.

Lucifer means “light bringer” or “light carrier”, from Latin lux, lucis = “light” and ferre = “to carry”, because the appearance of Venus as the Morning Star presages the dawn. Luxi = “to shine” (3rd person present lucet) is related to lux but isn’t the immediate source of “Lucifer”, although “lucet” = “it is light” could also mean “it is dawn”. “Phosphoros” is a Greek compound word referring to Venus which also means “light bringer”.

Well, we can all agree that it’s so bright that it’s in need of some restraint.

Pleased to meet you.

Not only is Venus bright, it is getting brighter:
Venus will be at maximum brightness around March 25, 2020 at -4.5.

And you know what that means.
Yep! A big increase in UFO reports over the next few months.

No telescope. Only reason I knew Neptune was there was via my Skymap app but thought maybe it was contributing to the brightness.

Venus reaches its maximum brightness every 584 days.

Well, technically you’re right, it is contributing to the brightness, but not much. Venus is about magnitude -4.0 and Neptune is magnitude 7.9, so Venus is about 50,000 times brighter than Neptune.

Better hope Venus doesn’t become TOO bright. That might signal that Sol has gone nova. What a pickle!

(Yes, that’s a Larry Niven reference.)