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 

Aaron Clevenson
Author: Aaron ClevensonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I am the observatory director at the Insperity Observatory in Humble ISD. I am also an adjunct astronomy professor at Lone Star College-Montgomery where I teach solar system astronomy and stars and galaxies astronomy. I am the author of the astronomy textbook, “Astronomy for Mere Mortals.” I am a past president of the North Houston Astronomy Club, and was the chair of Astronomy Day in Southeast Texas in 2015 and 2016. He is an observing program director with The Astronomical League, coordinates their Master Observer Progression Awards, and has authored six of their observing programs.

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