Sunset With Venus

Say hello to the first sunset picture of 2007, and look! As an extra added bonus, there’s Venus, saying hello. This is the first really clear sunset we’ve had in a while, which is kind of frustrating for me, since I had been hoping to see Comet McNaught earlier in the month. I suppose I may have a chance again once the comet gets a little bit of a distance from the sun again. In the meantime Venus is putting on a pretty nice show.

15 Comments on “Sunset With Venus”

  1. I’m afraid McNaught is going to stay below the ecliptic now that it’s rounded the sun, and will never again be visible from the northern hemisphere.

  2. Someone on Making Light said they managed to see McNaught in daylight! When I read that, I tried to see it the next day, without success. I’m bummed: the Great Comet of 2007, and I missed it.

  3. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, father of pangolins

    That’s not a space station – it’s a furrie orgy station!!!

  4. Pluto’s making a comeback!

    You can’t keep a good planet down! Or out. Or whatever…

    I don’t go to scientific conferences, but I’m tempted by some of those mentioned in the article. Just to see the fur fly.

  5. What a beautiful picture! And Veuns being there makes it extra cool, altough I didn’t really register it until you pointed it out. :)

  6. Yep, my 3 & 6 year old kids both know that the first, brightest star they see in the evening is NOT a star, but actually the planet Venus.

    My daughter keeps wanting to know when Mars is going to be close enough to see in the night sky….(without working too hard, that is. The other year when it was bright orange in the sky every night was cool).

  7. Randy wrote:

    My daughter keeps wanting to know when Mars is
    going to be close enough to see in the night
    sky….(without working too hard, that is. The
    other year when it was bright orange in the skyevery night was cool).

    She’ll have a while to wait. Mars is currently
    in the morning sky, rising a little before 5:30 AM
    at my latitude, +34 N. Currently at +1.4 magnitue
    it’s a somewhat tough object for the naked eye
    in the pre dawn sky.

    Mars will be an easy Thanksgiving/Christmas object, reaching oposition on the 24th of Dec. It won’t be as bright as the close summer opposition in 2003 which is likely what you are remembering. But at -1.6 magnitude, quite bright (Sirius -1.4). Note that the moon is almost full on the night of the 24th.

    While it doesn’t get the press that Mars does,
    Jupiter is in oposition on the 5th of June. It will be at magnitude -2.6 and trivially easy; just
    don’t confuse Venus (-4.2) in the Western sky with Jupiter in the Southeastern sky during the early evening.

    George

  8. You’re upset about missing the comet? I’m in New Zealand, and I’ve up and down the South Island over the last three weeks, and I still haven’t seen it! I’ve been trailing cloud behind me like veil. Sigh.

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