The planet Venus is so bright that when conditions are right, it can be visible in full daylight. This weekend, and especially on Saturday, February 25, 2012, conditions should be just right for seeing Venus in the daytime. Our friend Gadi Eidelheit sent us his tips for seeing Venus, and says it is easier to see Venus when it is far from the Sun and less affected by its glare, so make sure that the Sun is blocked by a building or a tree. If you have a clear blue sky in your location early Saturday afternoon, try first locating the crescent Moon at about 1 pm local time. At this time, the Moon will be in the southeastern sky, about 60 degrees above the horizon.
When you find the Moon, look a short distance directly below it to find Venus. The planet will appear as a tiny white dot in the sky. You can also use sky maps or internet sites (such as Heavens-Above) to find out where Venus is relative to the Moon.
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If you don’t see Venus during the day, try to see Venus immediately at sunset; and right now, the Moon, Venus and Jupiter are lining up for triple conjunction at dusk, and with clear skies, it will be a great view that is almost impossible to miss!
But for seeing Venus on subsequent days, try to stand in the same position where you saw it before, but 20 minutes before sunset. Try to locate Venus a little higher up and to the East from where it was a day before. Do so for several days, each time a little earlier.
You can also try to use binoculars to locate Venus. Safety first, make sure that the Sun is completely blocked and that you can not accidentally look directly at it through the binoculars! Although Venus is bright, it will not appear through binoculars if they are not focused properly. In order to use binoculars, focus it beforehand (such as the evening before) on Venus and make sure that the focus does not change. Now the binoculars are focused and you can use them to see Venus in the day. After you find Venus through the binoculars, try to see it without them.
If you get images of Venus in the daytime or of the triple conjunction, you can submit them to our Flickr page.
If your location does not have clear skies for the triple conjunction, The online Slooh Space Camera will webcast views from various observatories around the world, beginning at 0230 GMT (9:30 pm EST, 6:30 pm PST) both nights this weekend (Feb. 26 and 27). Access the webcast here.
Slooh will provide footage from multiple observatories around the world, including Arizona and the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. The broadcast can be accessed at Slooh’s homepage, found here: http://events.slooh.com/
Frederick Quintao on Google+ has provided instructions for seeing Venus in the daytime in Portuguese!