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Quick question about Venus!


#1

How would Earth look from the surface and which celestial bodies might you see around it with the naked eye?

Yes, my life is this weird!

MM


#2

Here’s a picture of the Earth and Moon from the Venus Express on its way to Venus. Not quite there yet. So I assume everything would be much smaller.


#3

I think, based on this video I saw last week about Venus, that the cloud cover is so thick on Venus that the sun is the only thing you could see from the surface.


#4

The disc of the Earth is about 15% larger than that of Venus, so it would appear slightly larger to someone orbiting Venus than Venus does to us. It would still be barely a disc to the naked eye (I don’t think it will look anything like as big as the picture Ron posted above), but it would clearly be a larger “dot” than any star, and of course it wouldn’t twinkle like a star does.

Earth’s albedo (roughly speaking, “brightness”) is only about two-fifth’s of Venus’s, but because it is slightly larger, and also due to the orbital mechanics (which I can explain if you really want to know) it would usually appear significantly brighter than Venus does to us. It would be the brightest thing in Venus’s night-time skies.

The Moon would be visible, but as a paler dot. It’s half the albedo of Earth and much smaller, but it’s still about as bright as Jupiter appears from the Earth. And of course it will always be right next to the big shining Earth.

One thing you would see fairly well that we never see clearly from Earth is Mercury. It’s not very big or bright, but Venus is very close to it, so it’s going look again about as bright as Jupiter does to us. And because of orbital geometry it’s going to appear much further from the sun (about 40 degrees maximum separation is the figure I have here) and more often than it does for us, so really easy to spot.

Apart from that, everything is going to look exactly as it does from Earth.

Of course, all this assumes you’re observing from Venus orbit. You won’t see a thing from the surface, possibly not even the sun, because the clouds are completely impenetrable.


#5

To expand on this: if my trig is correct (tan theta = 0.4 million km / 42 million km if one of you engineers wants to check it for me) then the apparent distance between the Earth and Moon will be slightly more than half a degree of arc. To visualise this, hold your thumb out at arm’s length. The apparent width of your thumb is roughly twice the apparent distance between the Earth and the Moon, as seen from Venus. So they are going to look really close together, as well as really bright. It’s not quite the double sun of Tattoine, but still impressive I’ll bet. There’s nothing quite like it visible from Earth.


#6

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