Skywatchers will easily spot Venus even before darkness falls on Friday as the planet named after the Romans' Goddess of Love appears brightest in eight years, Chinese researchers said.
Venus will be easily spotted in the southwestern sky upon sunset Friday and it will appear 600 times as bright as the Polaris after dark, said Wang Sichao, a researcher with the Zijinshan (Purple Mountain) Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Nanjing. "It's a golden opportunity to observe the planet either with naked eyes or through a telescope."
According to Wang, an amateur astronomer, named Zhang Daqing, in central China's Henan Province already spotted Venus with naked eyes five days ago.
"Zhang Daqing observed Venus with naked eyes in the suburbs of Kaifeng at around 5:00 p.m. on Dec. 4," said Wang. "He immediately observed it again through a telescope."
The Venus Zhang observed was beautiful like a crescent, said Wang. "On Dec. 4 and 5, the planet traveled very close to the moon and was lit by the moonlight."
A skywatchers' society in Tianjin has recommended the public to start observation 15 minutes before sunset Friday when the rising moon, the setting sun and the glittering Goddess of Love stage a scene of romance and glory.
Venus' brightness reached climax on Dec. 12, 1997 and will again on Dec. 7, 2013.