Could you perhaps enlighten us about a very bright star which is currently to be seen approx 30% up from the horizon to the east. When we say to the east, it is where our sun sets during the winter season. The star is at its brightest about an hour or so after sunset and seems to be setting, as around 7.15pm it is on the wane.
We were told it is Centaur, is this correct? We’re just puzzled that it is only during the last 6-8 weeks that we’ve spotted it. Why not before? It is so bright we would definitely not have missed it. Unfortunately our binocs are for game viewing so we cannot enjoy it as we’d love to.
If you could enlighten us we’d be delighted. We live west of Durban in a little settlement called Monteseel, 14km from Hillcrest. This info, so its quick for you to track our exact little slice of the magnificent Southern Skies.
Hope you have time to reply and we thank you very much!
Marlene & Bob
There is no such star as Centaur, although there is a constellation called Centaurus (which means the same thing). There are two very bright stars in Centaurus (alpha Centauri and beta Centauri) which are collectively known as The Pointers, because they form a line which points towards the Southern Cross. The brighter of the two, Alpha Centauri, is quite a bright star because it is the closest star to Earth (apart from the Sun, of course!).
I used to live in Pietermaritzburg, so I’m familiar with Hillcrest – lovely town. In this case, however, it doesn’t matter where you live: you get the same view of Venus wherever you are on Earth, unless you’re in the polar regions enjoying 24 hour sunshine!