Britain was treated to a rare view of the planet Venus last night, which will be shining bright in the sky throughout the week.
The planet, known as the ‘evening star’, was visible on a particularly clear Monday night, shining more brightly than usual in the rare phenomena.
It was joined by Mars, the red planet, which was also visible in the sky as stargazers were treated to the incredible sights above.
Venus shone just below a bright crescent moon which lit up the sky, while Mars was much duller, to the upper left of the moon.
During January, Venus will reach its peak height above the horizon, and get closer to Mars as it rises in the sky.
It is thought that Neptune may also be visible to the naked eye if conditions remain clear, and Jupiter may be seen just before sunrise.
Venus is the hottest world in the solar system, despite being the second closest to the sun, because its dense atmosphere traps heat.
Temperatures there can reach 465C, which is hot enough to melt lead, so scientific probes sent there have lasted only a few hours.
Its surface is extremely dry because water evaporated very quickly during its evolution due to the hot ultraviolet rays from the sun, keeping it in a prolonged molten state.
There is no liquid water on its surface today and two-thirds of the Venusian surface is covered by flat, smooth plains that are marred by thousands of volcanoes.
Venus was thought to be two different stars in ancient times, the evening star – which appeared at sunset – and the morning star, appearing at sunrise.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, James Dunn