Por: Patricio León, 4 de Agosto, 2023

 If you see Venus through a telescope this week, you might not believe your eyes. The Earth-sized planet has narrowed into a marvelously thin crescent. Yesterday, Patricio Leon photographed it in broad daylight from Santiago, Chile:

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«Only 3.8% of the planet’s disk was illuminated,» says Leon. «I saw it high in the noontime sky using my 8-inch telescope.»

This is happening because Venus is approaching «inferior conjunction.» On Aug. 13th, the planet will pass almost directly between Earth and the sun. Around this time Venus turns its nightside toward Earth. The disk of Venus is completely dark except for a curved sliver of sunlit cloudtops.

«Inferior conjunction is less than 10 days away,» says Leon, who plans to monitor changes in the days ahead. At closest approach on Aug. 13th, Venus and the sun will be separated by a little more than 7 degrees. This means careful daytime shots of Venus will be possible throughout the conjunction.