Sunday, December 17, 2006

20061216 - Daytime Venus

Click on image for skyscape of Venus sighting. The marked up image is not entirely accurate because I took a landscape photo prior to observing Venus.

Amid the hustle and bustle of holiday season in New York, I set up on a Manhattan schist outcropping known as Cat Rock. From here time is suspended and my imagination flies. I overlook Wollman Rink, the Dairy is nestled in trees behind me, and an overwhelming feeling, fleetingly, puts me on top of the world, at least the top of some world. This location is ideal because it still relatively close to home and it has the vantage to look over the skyscrapers that obstruct the southern view.

I set out for this session to observe Sun and Moon. With very little contrast I abandoned Moon, observed Sun, and discovered in Planetarium for the Palm that Venus was do-able.

The Sun had apparently moved well west (we all know Earth turned on her axis) by the time I started the look for Venus with an elongation of 13°. At 12:27pm I had the scope set on Sun where it was situated at alt/az = 25°24'/188°35'. Venus was about 1° lower, her alt/az being 25°04'/174°09'. I simply put the single sunspotted solar disk up to the top of the field of view in the Tele Vue Ranger and panned the azimuth about 14° relying in the Bogen 410 geared head mount's axis markings, they're in 15° increments. Real easy when Venus showed up clearly as a disk at its appointed location. Currently it is 10.2" in angular size, where my field log notes that she is obviously bigger than the Jovian satellites.

During the observation period some high thin clouds would pass through. Actually seeing was not good at all with boiling on the limb of Sun and Venus dancing slightly under high magnification. I was never able to make out Venus naked eye - even with some effort - in spite of looking very bright in the eyepiece.

What other times had I observed Venus?

Ian of Astroblog also reports on his Venus sighting from other side of the world. Last year he provided us a nice photo montage of Venus showing the phases over time.