Venus and a newly discovered comet will cross paths in December. Will sparks fly?
Come December, Venus and a rare comet will nearly cross paths, with the planet crossing the comet's debris trail just three days after the icy body dashes by.
Science & Tech
Venus is Earth's twisted twin in so many ways, what about on the skywatching front?
Alas, stargazing isn't great from the Venusian surface: The thick carbon-dioxide atmosphere that blankets the planet means there's no catching a break in the clouds. But above those clouds — where, come to think of it, conditions are rather less lethal for human stargazers anyway — the view of the night sky might be pretty similar to that on Earth.
A skywatching session on Venus would require being, say, 35 to 40 miles (55 to 60 kilometers) above the surface, where the temperature and pressure are surprisingly Earthlike, Paul Byrne, a planetary scientist at Washington University in St. Louis who focuses on Venus, told Space.com.
"It is the only other place in the solar system where room temperature and pressure conditions are present and, potentially, an astronaut could stand on the railing of a gondola with a breathing apparatus on but otherwise in shirtsleeves," he said. Perhaps the stars would twinkle a little differently or the atmosphere would tinge meteors a different color, but the gist would be the same, he predicted.