Venus the second planet from the Sun is set to shine brightest it will all year during this week with the peak on Tuesday night.
So why will it appear so bright?
Venus is closer to the Sun than Earth, so it orbits inside Earth’s path. When it is on the far side of the Sun, Venus cannot be seen, but as it comes round, getting closer to Earth, it becomes brighter and brighter, reflecting light from the Sun. Less of the planet can be seen, the closer it gets to Earth, but due to it being closer it will appear large in the sky.
As it gets closer to Earth it is visible in the evening, then when it passes its closest point and moves away again it is visible in the morning. Technically, Venus’ brightest point is known as its ‘greatest illuminated extent’ – when it is getting closest to us, without being directly between us and the Sun.
Venus has the ability to appear so bright because it reflects a very high percentage of sunlight that strikes it – a characteristic known as albedo. Venus has an albedo of .7, which means it reflects around 70% of the light that strikes it. This is thanks to the sulphuric clouds that surround the planet which behave like a mirror for sunlight. Share this article via facebookShare this article via twitter