Why does Venus appear to describe a pentagram in her path through the heavens?

I read that the path of Venus as seen from Earth looks like a five-pointed star or pentagram. But I don't understand why. Can someone please explain how this phenomenon comes about? And how long does Venus take to cycle through the points of its path? Is Venus the only visible celestial object whose path does not describe a conic section?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    As Venus orbits the Sun, it would follow an elliptical orbit, but only from the point of view of the Sun. Because Earth also orbits the Sun, the two motions are combined, giving a different shape.

    The orbits of Venus and Earth are almost a perfect 13:8 resonance, meaning that Venus does 13 orbits for every 8 of Earth. 13:8 is a succession in the Fibonacci Sequence, and the previous one is 8:5. Because of the time it takes for Earth to complete this orbit (8 years), Venus has moved in a sufficient manner to trace a pentagram with curved sides.

    From the point of view from Earth, every planet has an irregular orbit, because we are coupling the motion of Earth to the motion of the other planet. Venus, due to its distance, has the most pronounced irregularity, and due to the very close resonance orbit, it traces an almost perfect geometrical shape. It's pure coincidence.

    Source(s): See http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/ba/Venu... for an image of the way the shape comes about.
  • 5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    Why does Venus appear to describe a pentagram in her path through the heavens?

    I read that the path of Venus as seen from Earth looks like a five-pointed star or pentagram. But I don't understand why. Can someone please explain how this phenomenon comes about? And how long does Venus take to cycle through the points of its path? Is Venus the only visible celestial object...

    Source(s): venus describe pentagram path heavens: https://biturl.im/gwviO
  • Stella
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    The first answer you got is great, I'm just adding to it. :)

    Other planets appear to do this as well, not just Venus. It's just a trick of perspective, since we're on Earth orbiting the Sun just like all the other planets, only at different speeds and distances. What allows for these patterns is the idea of retrograde motion: where other planets *appear* to be moving back in their orbits from our perspective here on Earth. The points of the pentagram are the points at which Venus appears to go backwards in her orbit.

    Here's a link with some pictures: http://www.skyscript.co.uk/venusrose.html

    I tried to find some with the other planet's patterns, but the site I bookmarked a long time ago is gone, and google is flooding me with non-relevant results. :)

    Source(s): Hellenic Polytheist & Astrologer/Amateur Astronomer
  • 4 years ago

    Venus Pentagram

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    4 years ago

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