If you look low in the southwest after sunset, you will see a very bright object. It is actually not a star, but the planet Venus. It is located in the constellation Scorpius. The brightish star to its right is Antares. Venus is the third brightest object in the sky, after the sun and moon. There are many reasons why Venus is so bright. It is close to Earth, so it appears larger than most planets. It is also quite close to the sun, so it receives a lot of sunlight. Lastly, it has a very thick carbon dioxide cloud layer that completely covers the planet. Clouds, being white, reflect much of the incoming sunlight. Sunset is around 7 p.m. Venus sets after 9 p.m.
The observatory continues to be closed due to COVID-19. We are hopeful that the situation will change. Check the website for the current status: humbleisd.net/observatory