What is this object in the sky?

It is the brightest star/planet I’ve ever seen.

It’s 8:34pm in South Florida on 1/9/08. The star is W/SW and I would guess at about a 45 degree angle skyward.

Is there a site that would help me identify what I am looking at?


Venus. It’s always Venus.

And it’s your fire, at your desire.

Stupid question time. I just went out and took a peek. With 7X binoculars, shouldn’t I be able to see the crescent? Venus waxes and wanes like the Moon does, right? Is it a full Venus tonight?

Venus has been especially bright lately, but I believe it was brighter a few weeks ago when it was right next to the moon in the sky. There was at least one other thread asking what it was, too. The OP of the thread actually said there was no way it could be Venus, but that’s what it turned out to be.

It’d be funny if, just this once, it was Uranus.
However, Heaven’s Above has a good planet position page. If you give the website your location, it’ll tell you exactly what’s up and where it is in the sky.

I think it’s a bird! Or perhaps a plane!

It’s always Venus, and this case is no exception.

Venus should have been nowhere near 45 degrees above the horizon at 8:30. But that’s forgivable. People are, as a rule, fantastically bad at estimating angles in the sky. But that aside, a very bright object in the SW sky this evening would only be one thing.

Venus is near its point of greatest eastern elongation right now (it’s actually next week.) That means it’s about as far from the Sun in Earth’s sky as it ever gets. So it stays up later in the evening than any other time, and it’s also around the time of maximum brightness. (That doesn’t happen at the same time as the time of greatest elongation, but it’s close.)

All this combines to make Venus a lot more conspicuous right now than it usually is. It’s almost always a very noticeable celestial object, but right now it’s almost surreal in the way it stands out.

I saw a star so bright last night (about 1900 PST) that I had to look again to make sure it wasn’t an airplane’s landing light. Due west, about 30º elevation. I assumed it was Venus.

Well, it could have been, you know - them. :slight_smile:

Have you seen venus from a telescope? I never really had any interest in looking at it until seeing that site, I might have to go outside tonight - even though its -12.

Venus is near half phase right now. It’s tough to see the phases in binoculars, especially if you don’t have them mounted. Possibly you’ll be able to observe the crescent phase in a few weeks, when Venus gets larger but thinner as it moves closer to the Sun.

I caught her once 5 days before inferior conjunction, and got an incredible view of her very thin crescent, visible even through binocs.

I think what you saw was probably Venus.

This just sounds … dirty.

LOL. Yeah I got pics too! :smiley: