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Venus, goddess of love, to return to evening sky for Valentine’s Day

(Flickr photo)

Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, will return to the evening sky around Feb. 14, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

There is no better time to recognize this most amazing planet.

Venus, the brightest of all the planets in our night sky, is often referred to either the “morning star” or “evening star” when it appears just before sunrise or after sunset.

This year, we will see Venus slowly moving into the post-sunset sky, low in the western sky. Venus will then climb higher and higher in the west and be the most amazing beacon of light, other than the sun and moon.

During February, Venus will enter the constellation of Aquarius and remain about 253 million miles from Earth, moving closer to us each minute.

Venus is still close to the sun by some 10 degrees at the start of February and will increase its distance from the sun daily.

By March, we will get to view Venus with little or no difficulty, as the planet gains some respect with additional distance from the sun.

Mercury and Venus will be easy to view right after sunset by March 5, when the goddess of love passes within 1.4 degrees of Mercury for Arizona sky watchers.

Venus will cross the celestial equator on March 9. This will aid in its height above the horizon in the months to come.

Beginning in April, Venus will be some 20 degrees high in the west, just after sunset, revealing her beauty to millions as that bright object in the sky which many people refer to as a UFO due to its amazing brilliance.

Venus will continue to be with us in the evening sky after sunset and reach its greatest elongation from the sun — 46 degrees — on Aug. 17. That will be followed by its greatest brilliance on Sept. 25.

Venus can be so bright that it can cast shadows from the darkest of locations — quite amazing!

The beauty of Venus in the sky, is really just a mask for the real Venus, as far as what is going on at the surface of the planet.

Venus is a hostile world, with surface temperatures close to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add to that an atmosphere which is made up of mostly carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid particles which create a most hostile environment for life as we know it here on the Earth.

Surface pressures on Venus are well over 90 times that of Earth and remain some of the highest of any major planet.

Did you know Venus has a day which is longer than its year? That’s right!

Venus has an orbital period (or a year), of 224.7 Earth days. One of those days lasts 243 Earth days. All this and the planet rotates backwards compared to the Earth.

Venus is sometime known as the Earth’s sister planet as it is nearly the same size as the Earth, but that is about it.

It may be close in size, but the beauty of Venus in the sky, is only “skin deep”, in the fact that Venus is quite a unique world indeed!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

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