Venus as a Morning Star

Image credit: Ian Clarke

Above is an image of Venus, taken through a southeast window at 6:25 AM this morning. It makes an instructive parallel to this January 31 image of earth as seen by a camera on the Mars Curiosity rover:

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU

In both cases, the viewer is seeing an “inferior planet” (Not that there is anything wrong with them; it’s just an old term for those planets closer to the sun.) In the case of my image, it’s Venus as a “morning star” seen from earth. In the case of the Mars Curiosity image, it’s earth as an “evening star” as seen from Mars.

If you take the Gettysburg Times, you can read more about the Curiosity image in my column today (page B5). Here’s an excerpt:

There have been other famous photos of the earth from space . . . . But I think Curiosity’s contribution will go down as a special one. For one thing, it’s a landscape, not a spacescape: as familiar as if we had flown Ansel Adams to Mars, and yet alien. As recognizable as our own views of Venus or Mercury as an evening “stars,” but utterly different because the point of light in question is our home.

 You’ll be able to catch Venus an hour or so before sunrise through the late winter and spring.