Label: Venus

September 23, 2013


Another Venus lover! Earth’s "sister planet" is absolutely fascinating, and close enough that we often see it with our own eyes. If you have ever looked at a very bright star that is low in the sky just as the sun is setting, you were probably looking at Venus!

Jackson, from the school I am visiting later this week, is also interested in Venus. Here’s what he wrote:


Dear Mr. Seymour Simon,

I read your book about Venus.  It’s a very interesting book.  I never knew Venus was as hot as 900 degrees!  I’m so glad that I chose to read this book for my summer reading assignment.  

I can’t wait to see you when you visit our school this week.

Thank you,

Jackson D.  

I am looking forward to meeting all the students at Cider Mill School this week. See you soon!



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: space, School Visits, space books, planets, Venus   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 5, 2013

Today’s "Cool Photo of the Week" is a magnificent shot taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which has been sending us photographs from Saturn for almost nine years. This one is particularly beautiful because we can see Venus - a tiny, bright speck - shining in the distance.

We often see Venus in the early morning here on Earth, shining like a bright "morning star." This is an entirely different view, since Venus is seen here from a distance of 884 million miles (1.42 billion kilometers) away from Saturn.  If you want to try to imagine how far 884 million miles is, it is TEN TIMES the distance our planet Earth is from the sun. That’s quite a camera on the Cassini probe!

The early Romans named the dazzling white planet Venus, after their goddess of love and beauty. Gazing at this lovely image, you can certainly see why.

Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI

You can read more about both VENUS and SATURN in my newly updated eBooks, which are part of the StarWalk Kids streaming collection of digital books for schools and libraries. These "Read and Listen" books have top quality, professionally-recorded narration and come with "Teaching Links" to support Common Core use in the classroom. Educators: Click here to sign up for a free, 30-day trial for your school.


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Common Core, eBooks, Cool Photo, Solar System, Exploration, Saturn, NASA, Venus   •  Permalink (link to this article)

June 26, 2010

Last night, June 25th, we were wandering among the stars. Well, actually we were looking at the night sky with a pair of binoculars waiting for a satellite flyby of the Space Station. We knew the direction it was coming from and the exact time it would appear (WSW, 10:08:08pm). We knew that it would be very bright (-3.9 magnitude) rivaling that of Venus (a bit brighter at -4.2 magnitude). While we were waiting for the moment that the satellite would appear, we looked at the stars coming out as the sky darkened. The moon was so bright that its light washes out the dimmer stars, so only the brightest stars appear. Venus was very bright above the western horizon, appearing even before the red colors of the sunset had faded. I took this picture of Venus just to the left of the trees and you can see the last colors of a very beautiful sunset.

As the sky darkened, Liz looked up at the sky with the binoculars at two other bright stars and proclaimed them planets. I looked at them and thought that she was probably right about one of them and maybe not about the other one. The one I thought she was right about turned out to be Mars, the red planet. And indeed, it looked red. The other one she was also right about. It was Saturn. All three planets are visible in the early evening these nights, be sure to take a look!

Then, right on time, the Space Station rose and sped across the sky. It was magnificent, bright and fast moving (much faster than the high-flying ligts of planes that we saw). It took only a few minutes to travel across our viewing area and then sank below the horizon to the the NorthEast. I have to say that I did something silly. I started to cheer and applaud and Liz joined in with me. It is a beautiful sight and not to be missed. You have more chances this weekend to see. Check the times in your local area (look at the preceding blog entry for where to check). 

I cheered not only because the satellite flyby was so beautiful (it is), but because the thought of humans flying by in space made me think of myself as a small boy reading science fiction stories. I always wondered and hoped that we would get to explore in space and we have. Maybe not as far as I wanted (I wanted for us to go to the stars), but at least it’s a first step for humankind.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Astronomy, Sky Watching, International Space Station, Venus, Sunset   •  Permalink (link to this article)