WHERE'S VENUS? Have you noticed something missing from the dawn sky? The brightest planet of all, Venus, has disappeared. Actually, it's just hiding. This month Venus is orbiting behind the Sun where we can't see it because of the glare. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), however, can see Venus using its coronagraph to block the Sun.
Venus is so bright, it overloads the coronagraph's digital camera, bleeding into adjacent pixels. That's why there's a horizontal line running through Venus. The planet doesn't really have rings, it's a digital artifact.
Throughout March, you can watch Venus glide by the Sun on SOHO's realtime images website. In April, Venus will emerge again, becoming a bright and beautiful evening "star" that you can see with your own two eyes. Stay tuned!