Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich)

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Observing Venus In Daylight

With a little perseverance, it is possible to find Venus in daylight with the most modest of equipment. Binoculars of any popular size are all that is required. I have found Venus during the daytime with 8x40 and 10x50 binoculars and, based on my experience, I think that 8x30 binoculars would suffice.

The method I use is to find the approximate time when Venus crosses the meridian and then to undertake sky-sweeps to the south at that time. Venus near the meridian can be at altitudes in the range 15°-60° as seen from Ipswich. Once Venus has been found, there is no mistaking it and it can generally be located a second time with ease.

It is vital when undertaking sky sweeps to ensure that there is no possibility of accidentally looking at the Sun. The approach I use is to position myself so that the Sun is obscured by a house, wall, or other permanent feature while I undertake the sweeps.

On very clear days, and when Venus is sufficiently bright, it is possible to see the planet with the naked eye. Several members of OASI observed Venus by naked eye shortly before it underwent occultation by the Moon on 20 January 1980; knowing that it was in apparent proximity to the Moon made it easy to locate.

Roy Gooding