February 29, 2024

Qenus is beautifully bright in the morning sky right now. The chart shows the view looking south-south-east from London at 07:00 GMT early in the week (and the view is also easily visible from the southern hemisphere).

The waning crescent moon will quickly approach the horizon, and its phase will shrink. On successive mornings it will pass the red supergiant star Antares in Scorpius the scorpion before heading for a close encounter with Venus just 24 hours later.

Antares is gigantic, with 680 times the diameter, about 14 times more mass and nearly 76,000 times the luminosity of our own Sun.

In comparison, Venus doesn’t shine at all – despite what your eyes might tell you. Venus is about the same size as Earth and generates no light of its own, but appears bright to us because the highly reflective clouds that permanently envelop the planet act as mirrors for sunlight.

Catch Venus while you can. By the end of the month it will have moved even closer to the sun from our vantage point and will therefore be much lower in the sky. It will then be lost in the dawn in early March.

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