© NASA/Ricardo Nunes

Venus at greatest brightness

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Venus will reach its greatest brightness in its 2019 evening apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -3.9.

From Fairfield , this apparition will not be one of the most prominent and very difficult to observe, reaching a peak altitude of 9° above the horizon at sunset on 3 Nov 2019.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

The table below lists how high Venus will appear at sunset over the course of the apparition. All times are given in Fairfield local time.

Date Sun
sets at
Venus
sets at
Altitude
at sunset
Direction
at sunset
24 Sep 201918:4619:16west
04 Oct 201918:2919:05west
14 Oct 201918:1318:56south-west
24 Oct 201917:5818:49south-west
03 Nov 201916:4517:46south-west

A graph of the brightness of Venus is available here.

Observing Venus

The 2019 evening apparition of Venus
14 Aug 2019 – Venus at superior solar conjunction
15 Aug 2019 – Venus at greatest brightness

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

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.

Venus's position

The coordinates of Venus when it reaches its greatest brightness will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
Venus 09h40m50s +15°14' Leo 9.6"
Sun 09h37m +14°08' Leo 31'34"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 15 August 2019
Sunrise
06:01
Sunset
19:51
Twilight ends
21:36
Twilight begins
04:16

14-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous

99%

14 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:32 11:46 19:00
Venus 06:01 12:59 19:57
Moon 20:22 00:45 05:42
Mars 06:30 13:20 20:11
Jupiter 15:28 20:08 00:52
Saturn 17:39 22:19 03:02
All times shown in EDT.

Warning

Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE405 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

06 Jan 2019  –  Venus at greatest elongation west
24 Mar 2020  –  Venus at greatest elongation east
30 Mar 2020  –  Venus reaches highest point in evening sky
13 Aug 2020  –  Venus at greatest elongation west

Image credit

© NASA/Ricardo Nunes

Fairfield

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

41.14°N
73.26°W
EDT

Color scheme