Sunday 16 May 2021

Venus seen over Leeds


Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer Wednesday 15th January 1902

Venus visible in the Day Time

To the Editor of the Yorkshire Post.

Sir, Shakespeare’s ‘bright star of Venus’ forms so conspicuous an object in the evening south western sky that one led to inquire if she has been seen in the day time with the naked eye during her present effulgence. Perhaps some local astronomer has observed her through the atmosphere of ‘dim, laborious Leeds; Mr Whitemell, it may be.

To a great many people the fact that a star can be visible at noon day at all must border on the incredible, bit Venus is not infrequently detected, though ore by accident than by design to the un astronomical.

The late Mr Edwin Dunkin, who for nearly half a century was with the Royal Observatory at Greenwich wrote:- ‘ At the times of greatest brilliance the light Venus is very intense. A sensible shadow is often thrown upon a piece of white paper the interposition of the hand between it and Venus when the planet is in this position in its orbit. It can almost be plainly perceived by naked eye at such times in full sunlight, sometimes within an hour of noon. At one of these epochs in 1868, a correspondent of the The Times fancied that he had discovered a balloon shaped comet at noon day by means of a small telescope. The stranger, however turned out to tbe the planet Venus, which happened to be favourably situated for daylight observation in the spring of that year.

Sir Robert Ball, too refers the subject in his ‘Story of the Heavens’, thus:- ‘When Venus is at its brightest it easily can bes seen in broad daylight with the unaided eye. This striking spectacle proclaims in unmistakeable manner the unrivalled supremacy of Venus compared with the other planets and the fixed stars. Indeed, this time Venus is from 40 tom 60 times as bright as the brightest star in the northern heavens’. But of course a desire for star finding in the day time is to know where to look for your star.

J H Elgie

Leeds January 14th

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