Re: Venus?

Robert Sheaffer (sheaffer@netcom.com)
Tue, 3 Mar 1998 08:18:13 -0800 (PST)

Tyler MacKenzie
> 
> Robert Smathers wrote
> -----------
> In the daytime, I bet you can see venus and jupiter if you use a telescope
> to "cut through" the daytime light.

In a decent-sized telescope, stars are easily seen in the daylight IF
you point directly at them, and focus exactly (neither is easily accomplished
with a small portable telescope).

> indeed, I once heard a story that miners could regularly see stars
> out the mouth of a mineshaft while coming up to the surface FOR LUNCH! so
> if you have a handy mineshaft and good elsets, those noon-time iridium
> flares will be no trouble.  Incidently, by the same theory, i've heard

Sorry, but this is an urban legend. It's always a "friend of a friend"
story; nobody has actually specified a place where stars in the daytime
can actually be seen, and those few who have tried the experiment report
that they saw nothing. No amount of baffling will reduce the actual
intrinsic brightness of the background sky. A telescope, by magnifying
the field, improves the signal-to-noise of the (tiny) field that it
sees.

In any case, a flare of magnitude -6 or -8 doesn't NEED any help in
being visible in daylight - just look at the correct place and time!

-- 
        Robert Sheaffer - robert@debunker.com - Skeptical to the Max!
               my GPS tells me I'm at 37 deg 17.3' N., 
                 121 deg 59.2' west (San Jose, CA) 

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