Venus is seen next to the crescent moon during the daytime, prior to the start of occultation, on 7 December 2015 in Washington, D.C. in the United States. The moon occulted, or passed in front of, Venus for the second time this year.
If conditions had been just a little different an eon ago, there might be plentiful life on Venus and none on Earth, according to a new hypothesis. Minor evolutionary changes could have altered the fates of both Earth and Venus in ways that scientists may soon be able to model through observation of other solar systems, particularly ones in the process of forming.
For three evenings from 26–28 February 2020, observers in Western Europe including the British Isles can watch the waxing crescent Moon’s changing configuration with brightest planet Venus in the west-southwest at dusk. The pair are closest for UK-based observers on the evening of Thursday, 27 February, simultaneously visible in low-power binoculars.
By combining the powerful radar transmitter of the Arecibo Observatory and the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) — the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope — astronomers were able to penetrate the visually opaque atmospheric veil of Venus to make remarkably detailed images of the surface of the planet without leaving Earth.