© 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 2018–2019 morning apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.4.

From Fairfield , this apparition will not be one of the most prominent but prominent, reaching a peak altitude of 33° above the horizon at sunrise on 9 Dec 2018.

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2018–2019 morning apparition of Venus

26 Oct 2018 – Venus at inferior solar conjunction
29 Nov 2018 – Venus at greatest brightness
09 Dec 2018 – Venus at highest altitude in morning sky
05 Jan 2019 – Venus at dichotomy
06 Jan 2019 – Venus at greatest elongation west
14 Aug 2019 – Venus at superior solar conjunction

The table below lists the altitude of Venus at sunrise over the course of the apparition. All times are given in Fairfield local time.

Date Sun
rises at
Venus
rises at
Altitude
at sunrise
Direction
at sunrise
Mag Phase
09 Nov 201806:3504:5316°south-east-4.46%
19 Nov 201806:4404:0825°south-east-4.615%
29 Nov 201806:5803:3631°south-east-4.724%
09 Dec 201807:0503:2733°south-east-4.632%
19 Dec 201807:1403:2333°south-east-4.640%
29 Dec 201807:1803:2731°south-east-4.546%
08 Jan 201907:1803:3729°south-east-4.451%
18 Jan 201907:1303:5226°south-east-4.356%
28 Jan 201907:0704:0324°south-east-4.361%
07 Feb 201906:5604:1521°south-east-4.265%
17 Feb 201906:4304:2619°south-east-4.268%
27 Feb 201906:2904:2917°south-east-4.172%

Altitude of Venus at sunrise

A graph of the phase of Venus is available here.

Apparitions of Venus

12 Jan 2017 – Evening apparition
03 Jun 2017 – Morning apparition
17 Aug 2018 – Evening apparition
06 Jan 2019 – Morning apparition
24 Mar 2020 – Evening apparition
13 Aug 2020 – Morning apparition
29 Oct 2021 – Evening 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 15h46m20s 16°21'S Libra 24.9"
Sun 19h04m -22°36' Sagittarius 32'31"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 05 January 2019
Sunrise
07:17
Sunset
16:41
Twilight ends
18:17
Twilight begins
05:41

29-day old moon
Waxing Crescent

0%

29 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:26 10:59 15:31
Venus 03:38 08:41 13:45
Moon 06:53 11:41 16:30
Mars 10:57 17:03 23:09
Jupiter 04:56 09:38 14:21
Saturn 07:08 11:47 16:26
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

09 Dec 2018  –  Venus at highest altitude in morning sky
06 Jan 2019  –  Venus at greatest elongation west
24 Mar 2020  –  Venus at greatest elongation east
29 Mar 2020  –  Venus at highest altitude in evening sky

Image credit

© NASA/Ricardo Nunes

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