Venus Light, Venus Bright

Diverting one’s attention away from the roadway at twilight is rarely advisable.   That considered, it’s all but impossible to avoid noticing the appearance of celestial objects as they make their nightly emergence following the setting sun.

There hasn’t been a hyperabundance of clarity during the seemingly interminable dark hours of this particular winter season.   When it occurs, the first noticeable act of the show should be visible in the western/southwestern region.   That first conspicuous star in the sky isn’t actually a star.   It’s the planet Venus.

Spotting Venus in that general zone of the heavens should be possible until sometime in mid-May.

Legend and various written accounts would have it that some individuals with at least some rudimentary education in astronomy and who do not contend with geezer-eye syndrome or fried retinas are also able to spot Venus during daylight.   Those same individuals may also be mildly stoned.   At any rate, the known facts are that Venus tends to be the second brightest natural body in the nighttime sky, second to our visible moon.   It’s the second planet from the sun (earth is third), and it shares some comparable traits with earth in terms of size, makeup and mass.

That’s where the resemblances end.

The ancient Romans may have revered Venus to be their goddess of love, lust and mesmerizing beauty, but her eponymous planet-partner is one abusive, inhospitable bastard wielding weapons of a toxic, dense, acidic atmosphere, a volcanic temper and a blazing hell-hot surface temperature of over 800 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even if you didn’t spontaneously combust upon landing on Venus, the disgustingly carcinogenic flameproof asbestos leisure suit and shoes that you would be forced to wear would be akin to slow death anyway.  The only upside would be that you would be allowed to smoke anyplace you pleased.

Bottom line: Don’t save your money for a ticket to Venus.   Instead, get acquainted with your eccentric nonconformist celestial neighbor by traveling there virtually and for free by visiting NASA’s Venus information page within the agency’s solar system exploration site.

Link to it here:

https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/venus/overview/