Stargazing: Beware of our wicked sister

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While you are out trick-or-treating on Thursday evening, enjoy your neighborhood's spooky decorations and illuminated jack-o'-lanterns along with the natural glow of Venus in the night sky. Our wicked sister is a natural decoration lurking in the southwestern sky this Halloween.

Venus is often referred to as our sister planet because of similarities in size, mass, density and volume. But that's where the similarities end. Our wicked sister is a hostile world, far different from the Roman goddess of beauty and love it was named after. Venus has a dense toxic atmosphere that can crush a heavy metal spacecraft. The atmosphere is mostly made up of carbon dioxide with clouds of corrosive sulphuric acid. The surface of our wicked sister is the hottest in the solar system, at a scorching 900 degrees.

Look for dazzling bright Venus, if you dare, around 7 p.m. Our wicked sister is the brightest object in the creepy southwestern sky this Halloween evening. She will "hang" about 15 degrees above the horizon.

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