PHOSPHORUS; THE BRINGER OF LIGHT IS SET TO RETURN TO THE MORNING SKY
Photo Credit: NASA Mariner 10; CLICK for larger size photo and see below for info and links.
Earth’s sister planet, Venus has been shining brightly on the western horizon as the evening star after sunset for some time now. Week after week it has been brightening as it’s on the inside of Earth, catching up to us little by little until it disappears into daylight and reaches inferior conjunction on Jan 11, 2014. Inferior conjunction is when it is directly between the Sun and Earth thus, transferring from the evening star in the west to the morning star on the eastern horizon.
I created a post about the Mars and Jupiter apparitions that are currently under way which you can read here: https://danspace77.com/2013/10/20/the-apparitions-of-mars-and-jupiter-are-under-way/ but the inner planets behave differently. As they return from superior conjunction behind the Sun they reappear in the west after sunset (Mercury just barely). Because they are closer to the Sun than Earth they catch up to, and pass us. That creates a couple of different observations from our vantage point on Earth. As they catch up to us, they are growing larger and brighter on the night sky. But instead of reaching opposition like the outer planets when we see the full planet, the inner planets reach inferior conjunction and during that time we can’t see them at all because they are too close to the Sun relative to how we see them. We also see the inner planets in phase much like the Moon. As Venus gets larger and closer to Earth it becomes more and more of a waning crescent though the entire planet is still getting larger. But as I said before, instead of seeing a “Full Venus” or Mercury, we don’t see them at all during inferior conjunction because they are up with the Sun. In mid-January when Venus reappears it will reappear as a very bright, thin crescent but the crescent itself will be large because the planet is still close to Earth. As it passes us and leaves us behind on its journey to back around the Sun, the crescent will change into a gibbous Venus though by that time the planet itself will be pretty small on the night sky.
Tough the Romans named the planet Venus by its current name….”Venus”, it hasn’t always been that way…….Check it out!
The inferior planets (Mercury & Venus) are also known by their ancient names. You see, in the past they were believed to be two different wandering stars (Which is what the word PLANET means, “wanderer”). The Babylonians called the planet Venus “Ishtar” which personified womanhood and the goddess of love and war. Today the planet Venus is known to have only two highland areas (What we would call continents) and one of them still bears the name Ishtar in honor of the Babylonians.
The ancient Egyptians named Venus “Tioumoutiri” when it was the morning star and “Quaiti” when it was the evening star.
The ancient Greeks named Venus “Phosphorus, the Bringer of Light” when it was the morning star and “Hesperus, the Star of the Evening” when it was the evening star. By Hellenistic times the Greeks realized what they were witnessing was the same object which they then named “Aphrodite the Goddess of Love”. As stated above, Venus has only two highland (continent) areas on its entire surface. One bears the name Ishtar for the ancient Babylonian name for the planet and the second is named Aphrodite to honor the Greek name for the planet.
I hope you liked this, please let me know what you think and I will do the same as we near inferior conjunction with Mercury on February 15, 2014.
IN THE SKY page on this event: http://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20140111_13_100