Two and a half weeks ago the United States painfully forwarded their clocks in accordance with Daylight Savings Time. While DST has been observed for decades this is only the 8th time DST has been observed in its ‘extended’ format (which was signed into law by then President Bush and first observed in 2007).
The result is that many folks have found themselves getting up to do chores, go to work, etc. in complete darkness. This will continue until our days lengthen enough that early risers awake with the dawn, not darkness.
This year, however, there has been a bit of astronomical coincidence with the change to DST. Namely that the planet Venus has been staring people in the face for the first time.
Several people have asked us ‘what is that bright star in the sky this morning? It was in the South East, and it was BRIGHT!’. We’ve told folks that it was Venus, but oddly enough we aren’t sure everyone believed us.
Well it certainly is Venus, and it is still there. Venus is not called the “Morning Star” for nothing (in fairness it is also called the “Evening Star” when it shows up after sunset). Venus is the 3rd brightest object in the night sky after the Sun and Moon and is bright enough that at times it can be spotted in daytime (you do have to look very hard, however).
In the past, DST came later in the year so early risers would not encounter as much darkness upon rising. For the past few years that we have been observing the extended DST Venus was not in a position to make its morning appearance. So this is probably the first time many folks have seen Venus in its ‘Morning Star’ mode. Enjoy the view!