Crescent Venus


No, this is not a photo of the crescent moon! It is the planet Venus, which goes through phases like the moon. When Venus is somewhat between the earth and the sun in its orbit, it exhibits a crescent phase as seen here. But Venus is much smaller in our sky than the moon -- this photo was taken through a telescope which greatly magnified the image. At the time, the apparent diameter of Venus was only 0.79 arcminutes -- 1/75 of a degree. By comparison, the moon is 30 arcminutes in diameter, or 1/2 degree.

I've heard that individuals with exceptionally good eyesight can discern the crescent shape of Venus with the unaided eye. If this is true, it would be a remarkable feat, given Venus' tiny size!

Location: Phoenix, Arizona.
Date: May 18, 2004.
Time: 7:57 p.m. MST.
Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR on fixed tripod.
Film: Kodak Ektachrome E200 professional slide (pushed one stop).
Lens: 100mm at f/2.8, through 10" f/4.5 telescope with 10mm eyepiece using afocal method.
Exposure time: 1/4 second.
Scanner: Nikon Coolscan LS-2000 (color correction in Adobe Photoshop).

Revised: August 14, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Joe Orman
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