Image of the Month - January 2017

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The Holy Family Catholic School

The Image of the Month for January, is a rare object to be able to observe with the telescope, although often seen with the naked eye, the planet Venus. We can often see Venus, close to sunrise or sunset, as it appears as a very bright 'star', this has lead to it's nickname as the morning or evening star. It is partly because it appears so bright that it is very hard to observe with the telescope, as the image can become saturated very quickly, much like trying to take a photograph of the sun on a bright day! Also, due to the fact that the planet is mainly seen close to sunrise or sunset, the sky is still quite bright, which is a problem for a telescope. This observation of Venus was taken in 1 second, whereas when we image nearby nebulae and galaxies we need to leave the image exposing for at least 30 seconds to get enough light to hit the camera. The other interesting thing about this image is that we see only part of Venus 'lit' by the Sun. As with all planets, Venus does not create it's own light but merely reflects light from the Sun. Here we see the planet with light falling on only the right as we see it, therefore we know the Sun must be in that direction.