Venus Will Be 21 Times Brighter Than the Brightest Star This Week! Here’s How and When to Watch!

On Friday, July 10, Venus puts on a spectacular show for early birds. It established itself as a dazzling morning star emerging into view soon after 3:15 am from beyond the east-northeast horizon.

Last month, Venus transitions from an evening into a morning star-known as its lower conjunction. Now it’s moving away from that line and speeding ahead of the Earth in its faster orbit. Hence, the planet is going to display as a large, brilliant, and beautiful crescent that waxes in a month-long phase while size decreases.

Scientists have noted during inferior conjunction that Venus has become easier to see as it shifts further away from the sun and easily rises up into high brightness in the morning.

ALSO READ: Space Mystery: Two Giant Exoplanets Seen Performing ‘Gravitational Dance’ Away From Earth

When to watch Venus shine?

Venus will shine in complete darkness on Friday morning, July 10, thus shining its best at a brilliancy magnitude of 4.7.

Venus seems to shine most radiantly when it is in its crescent phase, unlike Mercury, when it is in its full phase when its peak brilliance is in. This is because Venus is far from Earth, and when it appears full as seen on Earth, its disk looks relatively small.

ALSO READ: [VIDEO] BepiColombo Spacecraft Takes Stunning ‘Selfie’ With Earth During Its Flyby on a 7-Year Journey to Mercury

On the other hand, when Venus is closer to Earth, its disk is more enormous in apparent dimensions. Still, its crescent shape does not reflect Earth as much sunlight as it would be if it were in its full phase.

This arrives as Venus appears to be 41 million miles away from Earth in 25 percent illuminated crescent, its highest lit length.

That moment will come on July 10 at 4 am EDT (8:00 GMT), according to the Astronomical Society of Canada’s “Observer’s Handbook 2020.”

By then, Venus will be 21 times brighter than the brightest of all-stars, Sirius. It will be so bright it can even be seen with the naked eye after sunrise on apparent days. Anyone who tries to track their movements can see it against the blue sky as a tiny white “speck.”

Now is the time to see Venus using those telescopes or even binoculars. Even merely bracing them against the tree will make a difference for binoculars. But some people claim that with their naked eye they can see Venus’s crescent. The best time to do this is 15 to 30 minutes before sunrise.

From mid-July to September

Venus will be seen near the constellation Taurus, the bull on July 11, 12, and 13 on three consecutive mornings. During these three mornings, it is located just 1 degree from the bright star Aldebaran.

Venus will face east about an hour before sunrise by July 17. The planet will form a stretched-out triangle of isosceles with the Moon and Aldebaran. Venus marks the origin’s angle, while the base’s angles are shown by the Moon and Aldebaran.

In August, Venus will rise to two hours before sunset at one and a half hours and sparkle at dawn on the east horizon, which will begin to climb higher every week. Perseid watchers will then see Venus at its greatest elongation, 46 degrees from the sun, by August 12.

 

For decades, when the agency sends probes – or humans – to other planets, NASA has followed relatively strict guidelines on how much biological pollution is deemed appropriate. It is a term known as planetary defense and, in a treaty, signed more than 50 years ago, it has a legal basis.
Solar System Contamination

A major planetary security aim has been to prevent humans from monitoring microbes in the Solar System. Adhering to planetary protection, however, has always been somewhat of a trade-off. Virtually everything we send into space has germs on it. Spacecraft often undergo strict cleaning procedures to get rid of these tiny organisms, depending on where they’re headed in the Solar System.

But now NASA is specially focused on once again sending people into deep space. And we carry tons of bacteria with us whenever people go into space, no matter how much we clean it up. With such a high priority being given to human exploration, NASA now wants to rethink some of the stricter Moon and Mars requirements. Otherwise, human research would be too tough to pull off.

Today, NASA released two new “interim directives,” which set out possible changes to the guidelines for exploring the Moon and Mars. It follows years of space community’s effort to update those rules.

“We need to relook at these policies because we can’t go to Mars with humans if the principle that we’re living by is that we can’t have any microbial substances with us,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said. “Because that’s just not possible,” he added during a webinar announcing the new proposed changes.

ALSO READ: NASA Offers $35,000 to Someone Who Can Design a Toilet That Will Work on the Moon
Directives?

The first directive revolves around reclassifying parts of the Moon so there are fewer restrictions on spacecraft and people being sent there. Under current planetary protection law, the Moon is considered a Category II celestial body. There is a “rare risk that pollution carried by a spacecraft could jeopardize future missions.” The Moon obtained this designation after scientists discovered that there was potentially a lot of water ice hidden on the lunar surface. And if the water is in the Solar System anywhere, scientists are still wary about maintaining some kind of life there.

The second directive would update the Mars rules to allow future human missions. Mars is a relatively restricted world right now. To landers, it is a Category IV site, meaning there is a major interest in discovering life there and a large risk of pollution. Meanwhile, parts of the planet – where liquid water might exist – are even more restricted and require more intensive guidelines.

NASA does not suggest changing the Mars classification. Yet the interim order calls for the agency to come up with new recommendations based on what we keep learning about Mars from future missions such as the launch of this summer’s Perseverance rover.

Such proposed proposals are the latest in a series of improvements and new rules that NASA is making as it tries through the Artemis initiative to go back to the Moon. NASA announced in May the creation of the Artemis Accords, an international set of guidelines to explore the Moon that it hopes other countries will adopt.

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Updated: July 10, 2020 — 12:09 pm