Space Station Info :: Nine Planet Solar System :: Space Venus :: Observation of Venus

Observation of Venus

Venus is the most well-known astronomical feature in Earth's morning and evening sky (other than the Sun and Moon), and has been known from the past. One of the oldest surviving astronomical documents, from the Babylonian library of Ashurbanipal around 1600 BC, is a 21-year record of the appearances of Venus (which the early Babylonians called Nindaranna). The ancient Sumerians and Babylonians called Venus Dil-bat or Dil-i-pat; in Akkadia it was the special star of the mother-god Ishtar; and in Chinese it is Jin-xing (??), the planet of the metal element.

Observation of Venus

In India, Venus is called Shukra Graha (the planet Shukra) which is named after a powerful saint Shukra. The word 'Shukra' also associated with semen, or generation.Venus as a brilliant "Evening Star" next to crescent moon.Venus was considered as the most important celestial body observed by the Maya, who called it Chak ek, "the Great Star", possibly more important even than the Sun.

The Mayans monitored the activities of Venus intimately and observed it in daytime. The positions of Venus and other planets were thought to influence life on Earth, so Maya and other ancient Mesoamerican cultures timed wars and other important events based on their observations. In the Dresden Codex, the Maya included an manual showing Venus's full cycle, in five sets of 584 days each (approximately eight years), after which the patterns repeated (since Venus has a synodic period of 583.92 days).

At the half-full phase Venus is at greatest elongation - east of the Sun when an evening star and west of the Sun as a morning star. The precise angle the planet makes with the Sun at this point in time varies approximately from 45.0 to 47.8 depending on whether Earth and Venus are at perihelion or aphelion. This range is much lesser than that of Mercury because Venus's orbit is far less eccentric than Mercury's.

Early Greeks thought that the evening and morning appearances of Venus represented two disparate objects, calling it Hesperus when it appeared in the western evening sky and Phosphorus when it appeared in the eastern morning sky. They finally came to distinguish that both objects were the same planet; Pythagoras is given glory for this insight. In the 4th century BC, Heraclides Ponticus proposed that both Venus and Mercury orbited the Sun rather than Earth.

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Physical Characteristics of Venus

Surface Features
Venus Moons

Observations And Explorations Of Venus

Historical Observations of Venus
Phases Of Venus
Early Flybys of Venus
Early Landings of Venus
Venus Early Orbiters
Pioneer Venus
Further Soviet Successes
Venus Vega Lander
Magellan Venus
Venus Recent Flybys