orin stepanek wrote: ↑Sat Aug 26, 2023 5:32 pm
Do we ever get a full Venus view when on the far reaches of its Orbit?
At superior conjunction, when Venus is on the far side of the Sun and typically not at much of an angular separation from the overwhelmingly brilliant solar disc, spotting the resultant "full" Venus can be difficult to say the least. I thought it would have been impossible until the Fall of 2022 when I was spotting Venus in the daytime leading up to superior conjunction on October 22. On that date, it would only be 1.05° from the Sun, center-to-center, not worth even trying to see, or so I thought.
Nevertheless, I was spotting Venus on every clear day leading up to superior conjunction, and we were lucky to have a good number of days with nice blue skies last October, and I just kept going to the day of conjunction. Using my 88 mm spotting scope and an approximate 4 x 6 ft solar panel about 15 ft up a local utility pole to BLOCK THE SUN, WHICH IS IMPERITIVE for both practical and safety reasons, I saw Venus mid-day on October 22, 2022, the day of superior conjunction. It was just a tiny bright disc that was difficult to pick out of the glare from the Sun that extended beyond the edge of the solar panel, not to mention the visual confusion from wind-borne seeds, which are surprisingly bright close to the Sun due to forward scattering -- but Venus was there!
Using the same 88 mm scope, I also saw Venus on the day of the prior inferior conjunction, January 8, 2022, and the following inferior conjunction on August 13, 2023, so that's three conjunctions in a row -- after many years of trying and failing to do so, usually being foiled by poor weather. Weather precluded an attempt at sighting the inferior conjunction on June 3, 2020, but I was able to see it on June 1, 2020, when the solar elongation was just 3.1°and Venus was a mere 0.1% illuminated. Of all my years of astronomical observing, that was one of the most spectacular views I've ever had. The delicately thin crescent, extending the full circumference in moments of better seeing, was beyond sublime. No photo of the crescent Venus I've ever seen gets close to that visual sighting.