Belt of Venus

After being mostly cloudy all day yesterday, it started to clear off about two hours before sunset. Seeing a crystal clear sky shaping up in the east, I decided to sit on the balcony for another observing session.

Before describing this report, I have a note pertaining to the last report. I used my smartphone compass, the same one that gets me to within 1 degree of NCP for an initial polar alignment in the field, and found that it is about -30 degrees off when I am on the balcony. I suppose this is due to the large, steel-reinforced building that is at my back when I am at this location. Because of this, azimuth readings yesterday were not accurate.

Sunset at Bethany Beach was at 1853, which I noted is 8m earlier than Ashton due to being at a more eastern longitude.

First I watched the Belt of Venus appear on the eastern horizon as sunset approached on the western horizon. To me, the dark band below the belt that would seemingly not appear until the sun had descended below the horizon, appeared about two minutes before the sun actually set. I was able to watch the lower edge of the belt ascend for about ten minutes after sunset as the dark band widened to about three degrees and the belt faded into the oncoming darkness.

Jupiter was to rise at 1901 according to Stellarium. My goal for this target was to use the experience gained the night before to find it even earlier than my last observation, which was at about 2 degrees elevation. On this occasion I was able to pick it out of the dark band below the Belt of Venus when it was a scant 1 ¼ degrees above the horizon at 1907 (six minutes after rising).

Mars was to rise at 2232. I knew exactly where to look in azimuth, but I had no sense of where the horizon was, so I would not be able to estimate its elevation. I was able to pick Mars out of the dusk at 2256 (24 minutes after rising), probably because it is not nearly as bright as Jupiter.

I really enjoyed the unaided eye observations over the past two nights, and hope to include more like this anytime I am able to whether in the back yard or somewhere else. Next is to attempt to post some images, and then I hope to set up some equipment tomorrow.

The Belt of Venus - 2022-09-23 19:00L
The Belt of Venus, Bethany Beach DE

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