Venus has an albedo of 0.7, which means it reflects around 70% of the sunlight that strikes it. So that's why Venus is blazing so brilliantly right now, and it's a beautiful sight to see in the evening sky. It's also the reason why Venus is often referred to as the Morning Star and the Evening Star.
Besides being visible with the naked eye, Venus can also be seen with a small telescope or binoculars. It's located in the south-western part of the sky and it's one of the brightest objects after the Sun and Moon. If you look at it through a telescope, you'll notice it looks like a bright, glowing ball of fire because it is reflecting most of the light from the Sun. The planet appears red due to airless conditions on its surface which causes the iron oxide found there to oxidize completely.
From mid-December until early January, Venus is located just above the Southern Cross. You can easily identify it by its four stars: Proxima Centauri (the closest star to our Solar System), Sirius (the brightest star in the night sky), Canopus (the second brightest star in the night sky) and Vega (a supergiant star located within our Milky Way Galaxy).
In April, it will once again be possible to see Venus directly before it sets beneath the horizon.
Because Venus is surrounded by highly reflecting clouds, it seems brilliant (it has a high albedo). The clouds in Venus's atmosphere contain sulfuric acid droplets as well as acidic crystals floating in a gas mixture. The sunlight reflecting off these clouds contributes much to Venus's brightness. Sulfuric acid also evaporates and forms a cloud layer over Earth, but because Earth has no significant atmosphere apart from that of the oceans, we can't see how bright it would be.
Venus gets its name from the Roman god of love. It is the brightest object in the night sky other than the Moon and stars. On a clear night with no clouds, pollution, or light from cities around, you can see Venus as a small crescent moon-size disk just before sunrise and again about an hour after sunset. It is the only planet outside of Earth that can be seen with the unaided eye.
The next time you look up at the night sky, try to see Venus. If it's not visible, look for it in the constellations Aries or Taurus, since it's closer to the horizon. Note that it disappears over the horizon. Next time you look up, check again - perhaps it has reappeared.
Venus is the only planet that can be seen with the unaided eye. It is especially easy to see when it comes out from behind the Sun during an solar eclipse.
The clouds in Venus's atmosphere contain sulfuric acid droplets as well as acidic crystals floating in a gas mixture...
...Its brightness comes from reflection of the sun from its cloud cover rather than emission of its own light. Although Venus emits some radiation that reaches the surface, most of it is reflected back into space.
The planet appears to be luminous because of this reflection. As you approach the planet, its image gradually takes on a red color due to absorption of blue and green wavelengths by the atmosphere...
...These colors are then re-emitted as red light by any particles or molecules in the atmosphere with an altitude above about 100 kilometers (62 miles). Thus, the atmosphere of Venus blocks out most of the blue and green light from the sun, but transmits red light which reaches the ground.
Venus does emit some infrared energy, but it is mostly trapped within the planet's atmosphere because there are no ways for it to escape.
However, if we could travel to Venus, the people living there would be able to see everyone on Earth who was wearing red clothing.