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Photo: Dreamframer (Shutterstock) If you’ve ever heard anyone mention the morning star(s) and the evening star(s) and didn’t know what they meant, here’s what’s really going on up there in the heavens. First off, the names are misleading. “Morning star” and “evening star” both originally referred to the same celestial object, and it’s not a star at all. It’s Venus, the third brightest object in the sky, behind the sun and the moon. Venus always appears close to the sun, but because of its orbit, it sometimes appears to be leading the sun and sometimes following it. When Venus is trailing the sun, it appears in the sky moments after the sun goes down. This is when it is called an “evening star.” When it’s “leading” the sun, it appears to rise near dawn, just before the sun comes up. That’s when it’s called a “morning star.” Ancient astrologers made a huge mistake Egyptian, Mayan, Greek, and other cultures’ star-gazers understandably believed Venus was two separate stars. They thought the same thing about Mercury, which also appears relatively close to the sun. Around the 5th century BC, Pythagoras delineated the objects as two separate planets, but it wasn’t until 1543 when Copernicus straightened everything out by discovering that Earth is a planet, too, and all the planets revolve around the sun. On “wandering stars” and whether they are “morning” or “evening” stars Because Venus isn’t the only planet we can see in the sky without a telescope, we now […]