A morning star is a celestial object, usually a planet and most likely Venus, that is seen in the eastern sky just before dawn breaks. It is often one of the brightest objects in the night sky, other than the moon, which is why it is often called the bright morning star. As such, it has not only gained a great deal of attention among astronomers but in various cultures as well.
Venus, due to its proximity to the sun and the gasses in its atmosphere, as well as its close proximity, relatively speaking, to Earth, is one of the brightest objects in the sky whenever it appears. However, due to the fact that it is a planet and on its own orbit schedule, it does not appear as frequently or as consistently in the same spot in the night sky as normal stars. Therefore, to the untrained observer, its appearance may seem random. Of course, astronomers can predict its appearance and placement, but this information may not be readily available to the casual sky viewer.
The morning star is known to be a sign of hope, that the darkness will soon give way to the light. As such, its importance as a cultural reference is often substantial, more so than its significance as a celestial object. It may not appear very often, but when it does, it is often noticed by those who happen to be awake at that time. It may even remain visible for a short period of time during the twilight of dawn.
Even the ancient civilizations looked to the morning star as a sign of significance. The Bible records, in the last chapter of Revelations, the last book of the Bible, that even Jesus referred to himself as the "bright morning star." That reference could help explain for its continued importance in terms of culture and pop culture throughout the centuries. This may also help to explain why, at least in modern times, this star symbolizes hope.
The morning star often appears low on the horizon, which makes it very hard to see except in open areas. However, some say if the sky and location are very dark, the sight is truly an impressive one. Train engineers have even said they have thought there was an oncoming train on their set of tracks, having mistaken the morning star as the head lamp of another locomotive.