Venus will reach its greatest brightness in its 2016–2017 evening apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.6.
2016–2017 evening apparition of Venus
|12 Jan 2017||–||Venus at greatest elongation east|
|14 Jan 2017||–||Venus at dichotomy|
|11 Feb 2017||–||Venus at highest altitude in evening sky|
|18 Feb 2017||–||Venus at greatest brightness|
The table below lists the altitude of Venus at sunset over the course of the apparition. All times are given in Seattle local time.
|13 Nov 2016||16:36||18:38||12°||south-west||-4.1||74%|
|23 Nov 2016||16:27||18:54||14°||south||-4.1||71%|
|03 Dec 2016||16:21||19:18||17°||south||-4.2||68%|
|13 Dec 2016||16:21||19:42||20°||south||-4.2||64%|
|23 Dec 2016||16:21||20:04||24°||south||-4.3||60%|
|02 Jan 2017||16:30||20:29||27°||south||-4.4||56%|
|12 Jan 2017||16:41||20:51||31°||south||-4.4||51%|
|22 Jan 2017||16:54||21:06||34°||south-west||-4.5||46%|
|01 Feb 2017||17:13||21:16||36°||south-west||-4.6||39%|
|11 Feb 2017||17:29||21:21||36°||south-west||-4.6||32%|
|21 Feb 2017||17:43||21:15||35°||south-west||-4.6||24%|
|03 Mar 2017||17:58||20:54||29°||west||-4.6||15%|
|13 Mar 2017||19:12||21:08||18°||west||-4.4||6%|
Altitude of Venus at sunset
A graph of the brightness of Venus is available here.
Apparitions of Venus
|23 Mar 2014||–||Morning apparition|
|06 Jun 2015||–||Evening apparition|
|26 Oct 2015||–||Morning apparition|
|12 Jan 2017||–||Evening apparition|
|02 Jun 2017||–||Morning apparition|
|17 Aug 2018||–||Evening apparition|
|05 Jan 2019||–||Morning apparition|
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 brightness depends on two factors: its closeness to the Earth, and its phase. Its 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 reaches its brightest when it is still a crescent – with less than half of its disk illuminated. This is because it is much closer to the Earth during its crescent phases than at other times.
As a result, during evening apparitions, Venus reaches maximum brightness a few days after it is at greatest separation from the Sun, which always coincides with it showing half-phase (dichotomy).
Conversely, during morning apparitions, Venus reaches maximum brightness a few days before it is at greatest separation from the Sun.
The coordinates of Venus when it reaches its greatest brightness will be:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Angular Size|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.
|The sky on 18 February 2017|
21 days old
All times shown in PST.
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.
|11 Feb 2017||– Venus at highest altitude in evening sky|
|02 Jun 2017||– Venus at greatest elongation west|
|22 Aug 2017||– Venus at highest altitude in morning sky|
|21 May 2018||– Venus at highest altitude in evening sky|
© NASA/Ricardo Nunes