© NASA/Ricardo Nunes

Venus at dichotomy

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Inner Planets feed

Objects: Venus
Please wait
Loading 0/4
Click and drag to rotate
Mouse wheel to zoom in/out
Touch with mouse to dismiss
The sky at

Venus will reach half phase in its 2020 morning apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.3.

From Washington , this apparition will be well placed and prominent, reaching a peak altitude of 41° 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.

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

Date Sun
rises at
Venus
rises at
Altitude
at sunrise
Direction
at sunrise
14 Jun 202006:1505:1810°east
24 Jun 202006:1704:3818°east
04 Jul 202006:2104:0825°east
14 Jul 202006:2803:4630°east
24 Jul 202006:3503:3235°east
03 Aug 202006:4303:2338°east
13 Aug 202006:5103:2140°east
23 Aug 202007:0003:2541°east
02 Sep 202007:0803:3341°east
12 Sep 202007:1603:4541°east
22 Sep 202007:2403:5940°east
02 Oct 202007:3304:1637°east
12 Oct 202007:4104:3436°east
22 Oct 202007:5104:5334°south-east
01 Nov 202007:0104:1231°south-east
11 Nov 202007:1104:3229°south-east
21 Nov 202007:2204:5326°south-east

A graph of the phase of Venus is available here.

Observing Venus

The 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 reaches highest point in morning sky

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 hours, 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' Orion 23.6"
Sun 09h30m +14°43' Leo 31'34"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 12 August 2020
Sunrise
06:48
Sunset
20:29
Twilight ends
22:06
Twilight begins
05:11

23-day old moon
Waning Crescent

38%

23 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:20 13:20 20:20
Venus 03:20 10:27 17:34
Moon 01:03 08:01 14:59
Mars 23:18 05:39 11:57
Jupiter 18:37 23:27 04:21
Saturn 19:06 00:06 05:01
All times shown in MDT.

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

12 Aug 2020  –  Venus at dichotomy
13 Aug 2020  –  Venus at greatest elongation west
02 Sep 2020  –  Venus reaches highest point in morning sky
30 Oct 2020  –  Venus at perihelion

Image credit

© NASA/Ricardo Nunes

Share

Follow

Washington

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

37.13°N
113.51°W
MDT

Color scheme