This is the brightest Venus has been for a long time

IF THE sky is clear after sunset on any evening this coming week you absolutely must make an effort to see Venus. You'll find it shining above the south west horizon from around 4.30pm, and an hour later, blazing in a darker sky, it will look like a beautiful blue-white lantern. This is the brightest Venus has been for a long time, and by Christmas the ‘Evening Star’ will have started to fade, so try and see it now.

You'll be able to see Venus from your garden in the middle of town, but if you possibly can get out of town, find somewhere dark, and marvel at its brightness. If you can find a lakeshore to view it from you'll see Venus' reflection shimmering on the water. And from a truly dark location you might even see Venus is bright enough to cast shadows...

Next weekend is the peak of the annual Geminid meteor shower. Unfortunately a big, bright Moon will interfere by drowning out the fainter shooting stars, but the brightest ones - and Geminids can be very bright - will still be seen despite the moonlight. So if the sky clears late in the evening on Saturday, Sunday or Monday, keep an eye open for shooting stars coming from the east. We should definitely see more than usual.

Stuart Atkinson

Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal

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