The below photos were taken yesterday (August 4, 2018) at about 10 p.m. from the plane over the Black Sea.

We were seeing the light dot on the left for at least 10-20 minutes. It looked like a bright star, but there were no other stars.

How likely that it was Mars?

enter image description here enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Star like light moving in the sky, what could it be? $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Aug 5, 2018 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ There doesn't seem to be any question of the dot "moving" $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Aug 5, 2018 at 19:13
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    $\begingroup$ Which direction were you looking, east or west? It was Venus if you were looking more or less to the west (the direction of the setting Sun), Mars if you were looking more or less to the east (opposite the direction of the setting Sun). $\endgroup$ Aug 5, 2018 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


This was not Mars. Mars is close to opposition now, so it almost opposite the sun, and visible as an obviously red "star" in the Southern sky at midnight.

Your photo shows that the sun has just set, and you note that other stars were not visible. This is the planet Venus. Currently shining at magnitude -5 it is 100 times brighter than the most bright stars. It is common, shortly after sunset for it to be the only visible "star", and as it orbits closer to the sun than the Earth, it is always seen in the sky close to the sun, as your photo shows. The when the Planet Venus is an "evening star" it is seen in the west. This is consistent with your plane travelling in a roughly northerly direction.

It is hard to be sure what time zone, you are in, or exactly where you are, but Venus will be visible shortly after sunset in most parts of the world.

  • $\begingroup$ While the picture in the question does indeed looks like sunset, it could also be the belt of Venus (aka the anti-twilight arch). The belt of Venus looks a bit more spectacular from an altitude of 9 km than it does from the surface. $\endgroup$ Aug 5, 2018 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ Looks too bright for that, and the "it was the only star" is most consistent with Venus. Venus is still much brighter than Mars. $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Aug 5, 2018 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks you for detailed answer. The timezone was UTC+2, and we were flying from South-East to North-West (roughly). Could it be some kind of satellite? $\endgroup$
    – Oleg
    Aug 6, 2018 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ No, satellites move. This was Venus. $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Aug 6, 2018 at 7:06

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