Venus can be seen on the horizon northwest of Nelson around sunset, although not for much longer. Here’s where our sister planet should be at 9 p.m. on Thursday. Screencap: timeanddate.com.

VIDEO: What’s that light in the sky?

It’s not a UFO

Every evening, a little after the sun sets, a light creeps across the sky above Elephant Mountain before disappearing into the trees near the flagpole.

The light is too big to be a star, too quiet to be a helicopter, too slow to be a plane. It is not a UFO, it is not Superman and it is definitely not anything to do with 5G.

Last week a reader sent the Star a video of a bright light in the sky. Take a look for yourself below:

We reached out to local astronomer Wayne Holmes, who didn’t even need to look at the video before providing an answer — it’s Venus, obviously.

The solar system’s second planet from the sun appears brightest in the sky in April and May.

Holmes noted the way Venus appears to flicker in the sky and behind the trees.

“This is due to Venus’ light having to penetrate much more of Earth’s atmosphere than when it is high in the sky and turbulence of the atmosphere causes the scattered light to jump around,” Holmes said in an email.

“This is the same effect that makes stars, especially ones close to the horizon, twinkle. Planets are not usually affected by atmospheric turbulence unless they are quite close to the horizon and the atmosphere is especially turbulent.”

According to space.com, this year Venus was brightest in our sky on April 27 when it was approximately 67-million kilometres away from Planet Pandemic.

Venus will be a mere 46-million kilometres away from Earth on Thursday, but it is more difficult to spot with every passing day as it aligns with the sun and gradually becomes easier to see in the morning.

Venus will pass perigee, its closest distance to Nelson on June 3, according to in-the-sky.org. So if you want to see Venus, step outside in the early evening and look northwest close to where the sun is setting.

You’ll also be able to see Mercury nearby, but Mercury is no Venus.

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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