© NASA/Ricardo Nunes

Venus at dichotomy

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Inner Planets feed

Objects: Venus
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Venus will reach half phase in its 1996 evening apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.4.

From Ashburn , this apparition will be well placed and prominent, reaching a peak altitude of 43° above the horizon at sunset on 5 Apr 1996.

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1996 evening apparition of Venus

20 Aug 1995 – Venus at superior solar conjunction
31 Mar 1996 – Venus at greatest elongation east
02 Apr 1996 – Venus at dichotomy
05 Apr 1996 – Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
05 May 1996 – Venus at greatest brightness
10 Jun 1996 – Venus at inferior solar conjunction

A graph of the phase of Venus is available here.

Apparitions of Venus

10 Jun 1993 – Morning apparition
24 Aug 1994 – Evening apparition
13 Jan 1995 – Morning apparition
31 Mar 1996 – Evening apparition
20 Aug 1996 – Morning apparition
05 Nov 1997 – Evening apparition
27 Mar 1998 – Morning apparition

Observing Venus

Venus's orbit lies closer to the Sun than the Earth's, meaning that it always appears close to the Sun and is lost in the Sun's glare much of the time.

It is observable for a few months each time it reaches greatest separation from the Sun – moments referred to as greatest elongation. These apparitions repeat roughly once every 1.6 years.

On these occasions, Venus is so bright and conspicuous that it becomes the third brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon. It is often called the morning star or the evening star.

Venus's phase

Venus's phase varies depending on its position relative to the Earth. When it passes between the Earth and Sun, for example, the side that is turned towards the Earth is entirely unilluminated, like a new moon.

Conversely, when it lies opposite to the Earth in its orbit, passing almost behind the Sun, it appears fully illuminated, like a full moon. However, at this time it is also at its most distant from the Earth, so it is actually fainter than at other times.

Venus shows an intermediate half phase – called dichotomy – at roughly the same moment that it appears furthest from the Sun, at greatest elongation. The exact times of the two events may differ by a few days, only because Venus's orbit is not quite perfectly aligned with the ecliptic.

Venus's position

The coordinates of Venus when it reaches dichotomy will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
Venus 03h45m20s 23°17'N Taurus 24.0"
Sun 00h49m +05°19' Pisces 31'59"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 28 January 2022
Sunrise
07:17
Sunset
17:25
Twilight ends
18:58
Twilight begins
05:45

26-day old moon
Waning Crescent

12%

26 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:26 11:31 16:36
Venus 05:14 10:23 15:31
Moon 03:57 08:44 13:27
Mars 05:11 09:50 14:29
Jupiter 08:41 14:10 19:40
Saturn 07:43 12:48 17:53
All times shown in EST.

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.

Related news

31 Mar 1996  –  Venus at greatest elongation east
05 Apr 1996  –  Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
20 Aug 1996  –  Venus at greatest elongation west
04 Sep 1996  –  Venus at highest altitude in morning sky

Image credit

© NASA/Ricardo Nunes

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39.04°N
77.49°W
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