We came across this lovely photo of the Racine Lighthouse seeming to shine its light toward Venus on the EarthSky website, which offers daily podcasts about ... well, the earth and sky, weritten by scientists.
Although the photo was taken in 2007, it illustrates a view of Venus now visible on clear nights -- a view that EarthSky tells us will disappear later this month, not to return until 2010:
Venus – the 3rd brightest celestial body after the sun and the moon – is the brightest star-like object in all the heavens. Venus has been blazing low in the west at dusk and early evening since last August. As seen from the vantage point of outer space, Venus has been catching up to Earth in its smaller, faster orbit around the sun.Download the full podcast, or read the post online.
Now Venus is poised to pass between the Earth and sun, and afterward reappear in the eastern sky before dawn. But you’ll still see Venus in the evening for a few more weeks. As seen from both the northern and southern hemispheres, Venus will disappear from the evening sky by the end of March.
The photo, as we note above, was taken by James Jordan of Elgin, IL, who says he often visits Racine. More of his photography can be found on his website; also be sure to check out his photo blog and his photostream on flickr. He has a small series of ten Racine photos, including some "blended" with the magic of Photoshop, unlike the picture above which he assures us was taken the old-fashioned way, on something called "film."