Astronomical highlights for the coming week; illustration prepared by Amy Jill Lankey, Buhl Planetarium and Observatory
By Dan Malerbo Buhl Planetarium and Observatory
Venus returns to the evening sky
Venus has emerged from the glare of the sun and can now be seen above the west-northwestern horizon after sunset.
Our sister planet undergoes a 548-day cycle from an "evening star" to "morning star" and back to evening again. After being visible for nine months in the morning sky, stargazers can view Venus in the evening sky for the next nine months before it returns to the neighborhood of the sun and emerges in the morning sky early next year.
This week, look for Venus close to west-northwestern horizon immediately after sunset. Even though Venus is a dazzling bright --3.9 magnitude, you will need binoculars to help find the planet in the bright evening twilight.
Sunday evening, look for Venus to sit about 15 degrees to the lower right of Jupiter and the thin crescent moon. By May 19, Venus will climb a little higher and sit about 4 degrees above Mercury, while Jupiter will sink to within 9 degrees of our new "evening star."