VENUS, THE END OF THE MORNING STAR
THE END OF THE MORNING STAR: Since last April, Venus has been a fixture of the dawn sky, shining more brightly than anything other than the Moon and the rising sun itself. Not anymore. The second planet is swinging behind the sun and getting lost in the glare. Human eyes can't see it, but coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) can:
Horizontal lines bisecting Venus in this image are not planetary rings, but rather digital artifacts caused by the effect of Venus' extreme brightness on the spacecraft's camera.
For approximately the next two months, Venus will be a bright dot in daily SOHO coronagraph images, moving from right to left. SOHO will be able to track Venus as it passes by the sun, transitioning from a Morning Star in 2017 to an Evening Star in 2018. Superior conjunction, when Venus is almost directly behind the sun, occurs on Jan. 8, 2018