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astronomy for beginners, answer required.....

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posted on Mar, 18 2012 @ 04:03 PM
OK. I have a very simply question I would like answered. Thank you.

A star is a very big sphere of very hot, glowing gas. All stars produce their own light and energy by a process called nuclear fusion.
So we see the night sky full of stars glowing with their own light.

So we have lots of planets visible in the night sky these days too.

Most notably we have MARS glowining reddish/orange. JUPITER in the southwest glowing , and just above it to the right glowing brighest of all is VENUS.

VENUS is an amazing sight and just so bright in the night sky. It simply appears to be a ball of glowing light. It appears as the brightest star in the sky by a longshot. But it is not a star as we all know, its a planet.

So, Why is is glowing so bright that gives it the appearance of a star producing its own light?

Are these planets supposed to be illuminated by the light if the sun?

You can buy that with our moon with is a dim enough light at times but VENUS is so bright I just don't get that this is the sun causing this. Maybe I am wrong and it is something else causing the planets to glow in the night sky. Normally this wouldn't bother me, but as I have already said VENUS just appears as if it is a bright star.Its light appears completely self produced.

Please 'enlighten' me. Thank you.

posted on Mar, 18 2012 @ 04:07 PM
reply to post by lacrimaererum

Venus is the brightest planet in the night sky - It is because it has a highly reflective atmosphere.
Venus is sometimes known as The Morning Star - though it is a planet - It can be seen in the early morning sky at certain times - Hope this helps

posted on Mar, 18 2012 @ 04:09 PM
I am no expert, but I have a pretty good grasp on this and related topics. Any planet is going to have what they call an "albedo", which is basically the amount of light it reflects. For Jupiter this is relatively high, and coupled with the large size of Jupiter, and its proximity to Earth, it basically just reflects a whole lotta sunlight. I mean it is MASSIVE. With a surface are like that, especially if it is reflective, a lot of light will be cast our way.

posted on Mar, 18 2012 @ 04:22 PM
I was outside two nights ago here in New Mexico where there is little light pollution and thin atmosphere. The sky was completely cloudless shortly after sunset, and the only celestial bodies visible were Venus, Jupiter, and Mars, and Mars was clearly reddish to the naked eye. It was a spectacular sight. Very bright planets with no stars visible yet.

It got me to thinking that on nights like this, the ancient astronomers must have been thinking "what are these things that are so bright, yet the stars are not seen?"

edit on 18-3-2012 by AwakeinNM because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 18 2012 @ 04:24 PM
reply to post by lacrimaererum

Venus reflects more sunlight due to its atmosphere composition. It is also the hottest planet in our solar system even though its not the closest to the sun. When we see the planets shining, you are seeing the sunlight from our star reflecting back at us. Its such a short distance for the light to travel and that is why the planets do not 'twinkle' like the stars do. Their is no disruption in the flow of light.

posted on Mar, 18 2012 @ 04:34 PM
Its all about the Albedo which measures reflection...I think the albedo of a mirror is something like in the upper 90% while Venus is something like 75. It's been awhile since ive studied this stuff but everything reflects a certain amount of light. Its quite interesting actually. Good luck in your exploration...astronomy is a great hobby.

As a side note....Jupiter is right next to Venus right now...look at Jupiter with some binoculars and you will see up to 4 of its moon rather easily...its pretty cool to see with just a simple device.
edit on 18-3-2012 by cosmicexplorer because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 18 2012 @ 04:55 PM

Originally posted by AaronWilson
reply to post by lacrimaererum

When we see the planets shining, you are seeing the sunlight from our star reflecting back at us.

Thanks for all the responses. They pretty much where what I was expecting but was finding it difficult to accept.

But then when I read the above piece something clicked in my brain. The most straightforward and simple answer cleared up the confusion. I guess when I realised that it is our very own star in our 'neighbourhood' it makes perfect sense now.

Thanks for that.

posted on Mar, 18 2012 @ 05:05 PM

Telescopic view of the crescent Venus.

Like Mercury, Venus is between Earth and the Sun, so we see it go through phases, like the Moon, as the Sun hits it from different angles. But even though we only see part of Venus, it is still the brightest object in the night sky, except for the Moon, with an apparent magnitude of -4.4, because it is so close to us, and its cloud cover so highly reflective. Venus only appears in the morning, and the evening, but it does stray a little farther from the Sun than Mercury, hanging around in the morning sky for an hour or two before sunrise as the proverbial morning star, or setting an hour or two after the Sun, entertaining us as the famous evening star.


it is a wonder to see a planet with the naked eye yet all the visible stars are so much more distant...
edit on 3/18/2012 by iforget because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 18 2012 @ 05:07 PM
It is interesting to note that Venus (like all planetary bodies) exhibits different phases throughout the year. Just as the moon is observed in quarter, half, full, and new phases, Venus is most bright when it is in its full phase. We on earth cannot view Venus when it is in its completely full phase because it is only in that phase when it is on the opposite side of the sun from us. The brightest we can see Venus is sometime after its waxing half phase until it gets too close to the sun (two dimensionally speaking, i.e., as it appears to us in proximity to the sun's disk). We will see it again at maximum brightness at waning towards half as it becomes visible on the other side of the sun.

posted on Mar, 18 2012 @ 09:13 PM
reply to post by AaronWilson

Some of the planets will twinkle on occasion. The less bright ones when low on the horizon combined with increased atmospheric disturbance can appear to twinkle. I saw this personally with Mercury about a week ago.

There's always an exception though. In very turbulent air, even planets can appear to twinkle. The air is moving so rapidly and so randomly that even something as large as a planet can twinkle.

posted on Mar, 18 2012 @ 09:45 PM
Venus is the second brightest object in the night sky after our moon, Jupiter is second, and the ISS is third, all brighter than any star from our perspective. So that should shed a little light on the subject of why, proximity, size and albedo. (During a solar flash the ISS can briefly outshine Venus, that is when the angle of the solar array is aligned with the angle of the sun's rays, that usually happens near the setting or rising sun).

An example.

posted on Mar, 19 2012 @ 12:31 PM
as i posted in another tread here last night i was on my scope looking at venus from(mid sweden)at around 22;00. what i did notice odd was something that apeared like a celestial body ,next to venusat about the 10 oclock was brownish dark but had some light reflecting on it at the side facing venus.crazy i tought so i changed angles and lenses and even location,still the same thing.any help with this?i am not claiming theres something out there,i am just saying it apeared like so. any one with a scope can plz double check i am not sure what i was seeing,

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 07:39 AM
reply to post by AaronWilson

It's not to do with the distance travelled by the light, it's because we are viewing it through our own atmosphere.

edit on 23-3-2012 by qvision because: spelling

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