Sunday 16 December 2018

Venus before Dawn

I've noticed Venus high in the sky in the pre-dawn twilight while riding my bike to work in the last couple of  weeks, but I haven't seen it in a truly dark sky setting until this morning at 5am, where it was blazing low down along the road as I pottered about, unable to sleep.

It really is a stunning object at its maximum magnitude.

Earlier on, I'd had a good evening's observing with my binoculars, again spotting Comet Wirtanen which I think is now on the fringes of naked eye visibility, despite what I said a couple of days ago. Too bad moonlight will obliterate it from here on in.

I also observed all manner of star clusters, some like the Mirfak cluster in Perseus which are larger than my binocular field of view, and others that are far less prominent like the three Messier clusters in Auriga - 36,37 and 38.

Comet Wirtanen itself was just about in the same binocular field of view as the most famous star clusters, the Seven Sisters, or Pleiades, in Taurus.

I enjoyed taking in the sights, on what was a much milder evening than a couple of nights ago.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.12.18


  1. Sad that street lights obscure so much. I saw Venus a few days ago. As you say it was predawn. Near the moon, now we have a half moon and no stars/planets to see. Pehaps later as it promises a clear frosty night up here.

  2. Venus hangs low above the tree line here when I get up at the moment, so pretty.

  3. THere's been a lot of interesting astronmical stuff going on at the moment