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Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?

Dr. Astro
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09/17/2012 01:30 PM

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Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
It seems to be a widely held belief on GLP that Venus is noticeably brighter now than in years and decades past. In a small poll I put out there asking if Venus was brighter than normal, 113 posters voted yes, 38 no, and only 13 voted "not sure."

Human estimates of an object's magnitude are lower in accuracy than they are in precision; the human eye can fairly accurately detect changes in brightness while monitoring an object like a variable star, but observer to observer variations can be quite high. On page 4 of the book "Astronomical Photometry: Past, Present, and Future" within the article titled "Photometric Precision and Accuracy" by Christiaan Sterken, E.F. Milone, and Andrew T. Young, it states
Although the visual estimates mimic changes of the variable quite closely, they demonstrate significant systematic zero-point deviations - in other words, they have good precision, but very poor accuracy. In particular, the estimates obtained by the two visual observers differ by 0.2m to 0.5m in 2007-2008.
Quoting: Astronomical Photometry Past, Present, and Future

Figure 1 of this article shows the precision of naked eye measurements to be no better than .1 magnitude, so to be generous, that is the minimum accuracy of this experiment in order to answer the question, "is Venus noticeably brighter than before?"

How can we objectively and quantitatively answer this question? With CCD photometry. In astronomy, photometry is used to measure the brightness of celestial objects on what is known as the magnitude scale. If you know the brightness of one object, the brightness of a second object can be computed with the following formula:
Magnitude (of unknown) = -2.5*log10(intensity of unknown/intensity of known) + magnitude (of known)

Just before dawn, Venus currently has about the same altitude above the horizon as the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius as seen from the T-11 telescope I used (discussed below). Because Venus is so bright (brighter than any star in the sky except for the sun), it needs a bright star to compare it to so that they can both be imaged with the same exposure setting without over-exposing either and going beyond the dynamic range of the camera, and because Sirius and Venus were both at about the same altitude over the horizon they experienced equivalent amounts of atmospheric extinction.

This morning I imaged both Venus and Sirius back to back using a Planewave 20" Corrected Dall-Kirkham Astrograph with a FLI ProLine PL11002M CCD camera using its photometric V filter, the T-11 telescope on the itelescope.net network. Here are the resulting images, loaded into the astronomy version of ImageJ for analysis (both measurements of the intensity have already been made and are visible in the measurements window):

The inner ring around each is where the program is integrating the light to calculate the intensity. The outer concentric ring is a donut-shaped area around the object of interest that the program uses to subtract out any background noise and light in the image so that only the light from the object of interest is being measured (not the skyglow around it). Venus had a measured intensity of 118458.254726 and Sirius was 10586.866282. These are arbitrary units, so we need to plug them into the above formula to calculate the magnitude of Venus. Given that Sirius has a photometric V magnitude of -1.47 ( [link to simbad.u-strasbg.fr] ), Venus had a V magnitude of about -4.09 this morning.

Now how do we know if that's normal or not? Well obviously it would defeat the point of the thread to ask NASA, so let's use something older than NASA. In 1949, Andre-Louis Danjon published a formula for calculating the variation of Venus' visual magnitude (V) based on the solar phase angle using data he had collected over the previous 10 years.
This formula agrees with later determinations of Venus' magnitude (Knuckles, CF., Sinton, MK., and Sinton, WM 1961, "UBV Photometry Venus," Lowell Obs. Bull., 5, 153-156) to within about .1 magnitudes, the accuracy we're aiming for. Plugging this into the general formula for predicting the magnitude of a planet seen here:
We find that at the time the image of Venus was taken this morning (05:38:53 UT), it should have had a visual magnitude of about -4.03, well within the accuracy expected for the Danjon formula, and far beyond the accuracy and precision attainable by naked eye visual measurements. In short, there's nothing wrong with the brightness of Venus.
TOMMY B

User ID: 23951991
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09/17/2012 01:34 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Thank you!
TOMMY B

User ID: 23951991
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09/17/2012 01:34 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Thank you!
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 12195955
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09/17/2012 01:36 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
excellent information..

unfortunately I don't think any true believers who get all their information from channeled grey aliens or "ascended masters" will bother to read it...

Anonymous Coward
User ID: 74444
United States
09/17/2012 01:41 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Good post!
2012Portal

User ID: 15022013
Netherlands
09/17/2012 01:50 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Sure is quite visible the last months, there is no debating that:

+

Mayan Calendar Beyond 2012-
From the love of power to the power of Love -
--- --- ---
"Jesus Christ, the Son of God our Savior"
Cassandra's Echo

User ID: 17424621
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09/17/2012 02:02 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
You actually conducted a poll on this topic?

Hilarious.

The moon looks bigger, too. Quick, take a poll and start debunking!
Soup Du Jour
User ID: 15489286
United States
09/17/2012 02:03 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Definitely Brighter lately in the MidWest. There's no missing it in the early morning sky.
Anonymous Coward
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09/17/2012 02:07 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Venus does add a bit of proof in my opinion of the 'Fluffy Cloud' theory (goes by different names). The cloud is a heated region of space that we are entering and it would explain a lot of the things that are going on with Venus, the sun, and our weather.
Anonymous Coward
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09/17/2012 02:09 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Definitely Brighter lately in the MidWest. There's no missing it in the early morning sky.
Quoting: Soup Du Jour 15489286

hell i can see it at high noon here in so cal
Dr. Astro (OP)
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09/17/2012 02:10 PM

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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Definitely Brighter lately in the MidWest. There's no missing it in the early morning sky.
Quoting: Soup Du Jour 15489286

Actually it's currently on a dimming trend, each day it is slightly dimmer than the last. Its brightness is in agreement with Danjon's formula.
Dr. Astro (OP)
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09/17/2012 02:21 PM

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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
You actually conducted a poll on this topic?
Quoting: Cassandra's Echo

Thread: How many of you think that Venus is brighter than normal?
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 23166715
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09/17/2012 02:22 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Definitely Brighter lately in the MidWest. There's no missing it in the early morning sky.
Quoting: Soup Du Jour 15489286

Actually it's currently on a dimming trend, each day it is slightly dimmer than the last. Its brightness is in agreement with Danjon's formula.
Quoting: Dr. Astro

Well the next thing you will tell us is the sun isn't hotter or brighter. Look bro this time you let the cat out of the bag you really are a goverment shill.
Anonymous Coward
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09/17/2012 02:26 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Dr. Astro (OP)
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09/17/2012 02:31 PM

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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Definitely Brighter lately in the MidWest. There's no missing it in the early morning sky.
Quoting: Soup Du Jour 15489286

Actually it's currently on a dimming trend, each day it is slightly dimmer than the last. Its brightness is in agreement with Danjon's formula.
Quoting: Dr. Astro

Well the next thing you will tell us is the sun isn't hotter or brighter.
Quoting: Anonymous Coward 23166715

The data doesn't lie. If the sun were brighter, then Venus would be brighter too.
Look bro this time you let the cat out of the bag you really are a goverment shill.
Quoting: ac

Because you say so? The truth doesn't work like that, the truth is I'm not.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 22052297
09/17/2012 02:35 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Definitely Brighter lately in the MidWest. There's no missing it in the early morning sky.
Quoting: Soup Du Jour 15489286

Actually it's currently on a dimming trend, each day it is slightly dimmer than the last. Its brightness is in agreement with Danjon's formula.
Quoting: Dr. Astro

Well the next thing you will tell us is the sun isn't hotter or brighter. Look bro this time you let the cat out of the bag you really are a goverment shill.
Quoting: Anonymous Coward 23166715

AGREED...WASNT 100% SURE TIL NOW.....its obviously brighter any moran can see it with their own eyes....its ALOT brighter...end of story
The Dudester

User ID: 23446673
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09/17/2012 02:36 PM

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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Definitely Brighter lately in the MidWest. There's no missing it in the early morning sky.
Quoting: Soup Du Jour 15489286

Actually it's currently on a dimming trend, each day it is slightly dimmer than the last. Its brightness is in agreement with Danjon's formula.
Quoting: Dr. Astro

That's right. I was looking at Venus at about 5 am local time and it did appear dimmer than it did even a few weeks ago.

Nice post Doc. Had to read it twice to absoarb the info but it was worth it.
****SUPERFLY****

User ID: 19055858
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09/17/2012 02:38 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Your missing something important. The human mind is the interpreter of the information given by the human eye. Since our consciousness is changing and sometimes without our specific knowledge, the mind is able to pick up that something is either clearer or brighter and it can't quiet pinpoint the anomaly but the mind knows something has changed. An optical device that you used is accurate and unchanged but the perception by the human mind has. Either way, this is why science has troubles with explanations. It's so hard to take the metaphysics out of the equation!
Dr. Astro (OP)
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09/17/2012 02:47 PM

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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Definitely Brighter lately in the MidWest. There's no missing it in the early morning sky.
Quoting: Soup Du Jour 15489286

Actually it's currently on a dimming trend, each day it is slightly dimmer than the last. Its brightness is in agreement with Danjon's formula.
Quoting: Dr. Astro

Well the next thing you will tell us is the sun isn't hotter or brighter. Look bro this time you let the cat out of the bag you really are a goverment shill.
Quoting: Anonymous Coward 23166715

AGREED...WASNT 100% SURE TIL NOW.....its obviously brighter any moran can see it with their own eyes....its ALOT brighter...end of story
Quoting: Anonymous Coward 22052297

No, it is not. Photometry proves it. I'm not a shill, and my proof debunking your claim is not evidence that I'm a shill either.
Queen Of Revelation
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09/17/2012 02:47 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?

Dr. Astro (OP)
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User ID: 4205976
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09/17/2012 02:50 PM

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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Your missing something important. The human mind is the interpreter of the information given by the human eye. Since our consciousness is changing and sometimes without our specific knowledge, the mind is able to pick up that something is either clearer or brighter and it can't quiet pinpoint the anomaly but the mind knows something has changed. An optical device that you used is accurate and unchanged but the perception by the human mind has. Either way, this is why science has troubles with explanations. It's so hard to take the metaphysics out of the equation!
Quoting: ****SUPERFLY****

The only thing that changed was the level of expectation that something is wrong wrong Venus' brightness. Subject assessment is subject to preconceived expectations. People expect things to look wrong with the sky, so that's what they perceive. That's why objective quantification is more valuable.
jpmorgan

User ID: 18620253
South Africa
09/17/2012 02:56 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
At the edge of Her garden
the Venus night shines
For the spinning moth
Burnt, fell to the ground

She stole from heaven
stars held to the light
and into Her hand
this grey dove, timid and lost.

maya grant

It's all just perception, like everything else.

Reality420
User ID: 23400173
United States
09/17/2012 03:08 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
Still agitating the chimps?
That's just cruel... but funny.

I was wondering what you were going to do about filtering for V since the filter isn't something I would think you'd have in your personal toolbox.

20" Planewave ... nice piece of equipment. I think Hap has a 12"(?) Planewave.

I, personally, won't spend a dime on disabusing the PX/PoleShift/HMO psychos of their delusions. I find ridiculing them much more effective and satisfying.

Have fun.

R.
Reality420
User ID: 23400173
United States
09/17/2012 03:13 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
You actually conducted a poll on this topic?

Hilarious.

The moon looks bigger, too. Quick, take a poll and start debunking!
Quoting: Cassandra's Echo

Are you still around?

I'd have thought you'd be in your cave in Arkansas with your buddy Terrel the Bricklaying Astrophysicist.

Don't you have an HMO to hide under the bed from?

Let the drooling commence...

R.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 23946784
Croatia
09/17/2012 03:15 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
In short, there's nothing wrong with the brightness of Venus.

huh thank GOD for that

rushing to bunkers postponed
uytre
User ID: 1512488
Sweden
09/17/2012 03:17 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
YES, IT IS !
Daersoulkeeper

User ID: 1159767
United States
09/17/2012 03:19 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
the sun is brighter but i think uranus is as well
the real reason most people on this planet are the most ignorant gullible people that have ever lived is a little thing called the

TELL-LIE-VISION

television

when you watch it, you put the I(you) in television and you get tel(i)evision

tell lie vision
Anonymous Coward
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Brazil
09/17/2012 03:20 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
not, is psychological
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 22616456
New Zealand
09/17/2012 03:24 PM
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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
good info astro.

it may not be brighter then normal, but its brightness does vary, which may explain why people think its brighter? because it is...well it was.

Dr. Astro (OP)
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09/17/2012 03:31 PM

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Re: Is Venus Brighter Than Normal?
I was wondering what you were going to do about filtering for V since the filter isn't something I would think you'd have in your personal toolbox.
Quoting: Reality420 23400173

Quite right. I wasn't about to run out and buy a photometric filter set on account of this thread, but fortunately the T-11 is fully equipped. Only cost a few bucks for the 0.001 second images. Most of that is spent on time downloading the images from the camera.
Dr. Astro (OP)
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09/17/2012 03:45 PM

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