© 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 2020 morning apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.3.

From Fairfield , this apparition will be well placed and prominent, reaching a peak altitude of 40° above the horizon at sunrise on 2 Sep 2020.

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

2020 morning apparition of Venus

03 Jun 2020 – Venus at inferior solar conjunction
08 Jul 2020 – Venus at greatest brightness
12 Aug 2020 – Venus at dichotomy
13 Aug 2020 – Venus at greatest elongation west
02 Sep 2020 – Venus at highest altitude in morning sky
26 Mar 2021 – 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
rises at
at sunrise
at sunrise
Mag Phase
14 Jun 202005:1704:27east-4.14%
24 Jun 202005:1903:4716°east-4.412%
04 Jul 202005:2303:1622°east-4.522%
14 Jul 202005:3002:5328°east-4.530%
24 Jul 202005:3802:3832°east-4.438%
03 Aug 202005:4802:2936°east-4.444%
13 Aug 202005:5802:2638°east-4.350%
23 Aug 202006:0802:2939°east-4.255%
02 Sep 202006:1802:3740°east-4.260%
12 Sep 202006:2802:4940°east-4.264%
22 Sep 202006:3803:0539°east-4.168%
02 Oct 202006:4803:2437°east-4.172%
12 Oct 202006:5903:4336°east-4.175%
22 Oct 202007:1004:0433°south-east-4.079%
01 Nov 202006:2203:2531°south-east-4.081%
11 Nov 202006:3403:4828°south-east-4.084%
21 Nov 202006:4604:1025°south-east-4.087%

Altitude of Venus at sunrise

A graph of the phase of Venus is available here.

Apparitions of Venus

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
20 Mar 2022 – Morning apparition
04 Jun 2023 – 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 06h19m30s 20°02'N Orion 23.6"
Sun 09h30m +14°43' Leo 31'34"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 12 Aug 2020

The sky on 12 August 2020
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

23-day old moon
Waning Crescent


23 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:28 12:37 19:46
Venus 02:28 09:45 17:03
Moon 00:01 07:14 14:36
Mars 22:36 04:57 11:18
Jupiter 18:07 22:45 03:24
Saturn 18:35 23:20 04:05
All times shown in EDT.


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

26 Mar 2020  –  Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
13 Aug 2020  –  Venus at greatest elongation west
02 Sep 2020  –  Venus at highest altitude in morning sky
29 Oct 2021  –  Venus at greatest elongation east

Image credit

© NASA/Ricardo Nunes






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