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My wife noticed an extremely bright light about 20 degrees up on the western sky at 7:30. Cannot find any evidence that this is Venus or another planet, what is it?

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By
Chad Adams
MIKE MOSS SAYS:         Chad,    You may have been a little too quick to dismiss your own first impression, as it appears Venus was in just about the position you mentioned at that time. According to calculations available from the US Naval Observatory web site, Venus would have been at an apparent altitude of about 11 degrees and an azimuth direction of 265 degrees at the time and date you noted, in the process of setting a bit later at 8:24 pm at an azimuth of 273 degrees (almost due west). The tools for making these calculations are all available on their web site at

http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/

Look under the sections labeled "Rise/Set/Transit..." and "Positions of Selected...," respectively.

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