I'm 15 yrs old so please explain it thoroughly for me to understand. I don't have a telescope I just want to look up in the sky and be able to say,, "yes thats a star" / "no, my friend , that there is venus. I know this because..."
The planet Venus is presently visible as a bright, star-like object in the eastern sky, shortly before sunrise.
Venus is the brightest object in the night sky other than the moon. It is so bright that it can sometimes be seen even in full daylight (If you know exactly where to look).
One thing that distinguishes the planet Venus from a true star is that you can see an actual area of surface instead of only a point of light (easier with binoculars). Because of this, Venus does not ?twinkle? the way stars do. Twinkling is caused by Earth?s atmospheric disturbance of the points of starlight.
At night, Venus can only be seen within about 48 degrees angle or less from the setting or rising sun because its orbit is closer to the sun than Earth's. This means that at night you can only see Venus within about three hours of sunrise or sunset.
If you see Venus just before dawn, it is moving away from the Earth as it travels in its orbit. See it just after sunset and it's approaching us.
You know where Venus is located. Get a starchart or program online.
Planets usually don't seem to twinkle or flicker like stars do. Try looking at it with binoculars, Venus and Mercury show phases like the Moon does. Stars don't have phases even when they have visible naked eye disks. STEADY binoculars, Even just proppin your elobows on a car roof to steady your hands is enough. Even cheapy binoculars work, the kind that you can close and slip into a pocket or purse. Mercury, Mars, and Saturn are evening stars right now, while Venus and J\upiter are morning stars.
Once all stars are visible at night, it is almost impossible to distinguish. but it is usually the first "star" visible at night. Also it is usually near the moon from our prospective.
Most everyone will tell you "stars twinkle, planets don't," but that's not 100% true. On a very steady night, stars don't twinkle; on a very turbulent night, planets twinkle. The second criterion I use is brightness: almost without exception, ALL planets are brighter than the brightest stars. So anything that's really bright is probably a planet. If it doesn't twinkle, you can almost bet on it.
The other thing I use mostly only works for experienced amateur astronomers. Planets "don't belong." Once you know your basic constellations, it's really obvious if there's an interloper among them. Add to that, that planets only appear in a narrow band across the sky and that Mercury and Venus only appear close to where the Sun rises and sets, and you can pretty much be sure of identifying Venus. Planets don't move fast, so if you know where they are tonight, you can pretty much count on them being close by tomorrow night or even next week.