Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Venus

Venus, about the same size as earth
the second planet from the sun

rocky, but covered with white clouds
which make it one the brightest planet
appearing brighter than any star

like mercury, it's close to the sun
and never strays far from it
it can only be seen in the evening just after sunset
or in the morning before sunrise
but get's much higher in the sky than mercury
as a result it's know as the dawn star
and the dusk star
depending on where it is in it's orbit
some have suggested that it took the ancients quite some time
to figure out that the dawn and dusk star were the same thing

gallileo was the first to view venus through a telescope
and note it has phases like the moon (see below)
the phases convinced him that the sun was the center of the solar system
not the earth
which was correct
but got him in trouble with the church

the cloud layer on venus
is rich in carbon dioxide causing a greenhouse effect
making venus the hottest planet in the solar system
far hotter than mercury although further away

the similarity in size and carbon dioxide content between earth and venus
lead many to conclude that earth will eventually become like venus
with no water due to the run away greenhouse effect

here are a few images at the "half moon" phase
viewers looking through a telescope for the first time
mistake it for the moon




and here's a shot of venus as it crosses in front of the sun

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