Posted by: T. Boyd | January 16, 2009

Some sights to look for

A new sight coming up is Comet Lulin, which is now an early morning, hard-to-see object, but will become brighter, reaching a peak brightness on February 23. I will keep you posted as I will be trying to see it myself.

Another exciting object is Venus, currently the bright evening “star” (actually, a planet) in the western sky after sunset. It is nearing its highest altitude and peak brightness. If you look through a telescope at Venus, you may be surprised to see its shape. It is not spherical looking, but goes through phases like the moon, and, right now, is crescent shaped because of where it is in its orbit around the Sun. The Sun is shining from the side, so to speak, from the Earth’s viewpoint. It reached the “half-moon” shape on January 16, and will be getting slimmer during the next few weeks, yet its brightness is increasing as it gets closer to earth.

Note: if you click on “half-moon” above you should see a short movie of its rotation from the Sky and Telescope site.

More to come…



  1. Well, I set up my 8″ telescope last night in the street next to our house and gazed at Venus a little while. Sure ’nuff – it is “half-moon” shaped right now, and very bright in the eyepiece. In fact, the image got sharper and not so blindingly bright when I partially covered over the telescope opening with my hand. I tried taking a photo with our digital camera, but could not get it adjusted properly – and it was so cold! The eight inch Dobsonian is described here.


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