Visible Planets August 2015 – Mercury and Venus

Planets

Here is our post about the visible planets: Visible Planets.

Here is our post for the other visible planets: Visible Planets August 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

Mercury

Mercury: NASA
Mercury: NASA

Mercury has the honour of being the closest planet to the Sun.  It’s round the Sun takes 88 days.  So, a Mercury year is 88 Earth days long.

Now, a Mercury day is 176 Earth days long! It spins or rotates very slowly on its own axis.

Mercury passes over the Sun every 7 years.  This next happens on May 16th 2016.  I’ll order some of the special glasses early.  We never look at the Sun, Brian Cox says not to!

Planets do not usually twinkle or scintillates, but Mercury does.  When it is low in the sky, close to the horizon light pierces the atmosphere at an acute angle.  This makes the light scatter more and scintillate.

Mercury – as at August 2015

As we are in the Northern hemisphere we are unlikely to see Mercury.  It may be visible very early –  pre dawn.  It will be tough to see though as it is lost in the Sun’s glare.

You may find it if you look with binoculars or a telescope.  It will be too early for us and we won’t look into or near to the sun’s glare with binoculars, the risk of eye damage is something to avoid.

Venus

Venus: NASA
Venus: NASA

Venus is the closest planet in size and mass to Earth.  Sometimes it is known as Earth’s sister planet.

Venus is named after the Roman god of love and beauty.

It reflects sunlight with a bright silver color. It is the second brightest object in the night sky after the moon and is sometimes mistaken for a UFO.

Venus does not have seasons as it does not tilt on its axis.

Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system.

Venus – as at August 2015

Venus, rises at sunrise on the 18th of August and by the end of August it rises an hour and a half before sunrise.  It brightens towards the month end.  It is in the eastern sky.

It is so close to the Sun, that it is not safe to view after sunrise.  We are unlikely to see it in the Northern Hemisphere.

Jupiter and Venus, June 30th
Jupiter and Venus, June 30th: Kam and Mum.

To the left is our photo of Jupiter and Venus.  Jupiter is yellowish and at the top, with Venus brilliant and bright at the bottom.  Kam had had a late night and I thought ok, let’s wait a few more minutes before bedtime and at least he’d see Venus and Jupiter.  He was so pleased and loves this photo.  

A Note to You and Me

These notes are for Kam and I to find planets and to know which planets we can see.

Mercury and Venus are two of the five visible planets from Earth.  We have another post for Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Here is the link: Visible Planets August 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

As always, thanks for reading and if you like it, can add to it or would like to say hello, please do so below.

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