© NASA/Ricardo Nunes

Venus at greatest brightness

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Inner Planets feed

Objects: Venus
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Venus will reach its greatest brightness in its 2022 morning apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.6.

From Cambridge , this apparition will not be one of the most prominent but , reaching a peak altitude of 21° above the horizon at sunrise on 15 Feb 2022.

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2022 morning apparition of Venus

08 Jan 2022 – Venus at inferior solar conjunction
09 Feb 2022 – Venus at greatest brightness
15 Feb 2022 – Venus at highest altitude in morning sky
20 Mar 2022 – Venus at greatest elongation west
21 Mar 2022 – Venus at dichotomy

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

Date Sun
rises at
Venus
rises at
Altitude
at sunrise
Direction
at sunrise
Mag Phase
16 Jan 202207:0905:5911°south-east-4.32%
26 Jan 202207:0305:0518°south-east-4.510%
05 Feb 202206:5204:3221°south-east-4.619%
15 Feb 202206:4004:0921°south-east-4.628%
25 Feb 202206:2604:0021°south-east-4.635%
07 Mar 202206:1103:5220°south-east-4.542%
17 Mar 202206:5204:4819°south-east-4.448%
27 Mar 202206:3604:4218°south-east-4.353%
06 Apr 202206:1704:3217°south-east-4.358%
16 Apr 202206:0204:2417°south-east-4.262%
26 Apr 202205:4704:1116°east-4.166%
06 May 202205:3304:0116°east-4.169%

Altitude of Venus at sunrise

A graph of the brightness of Venus is available here.

Apparitions of Venus

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
23 Oct 2023 – Morning apparition
10 Jan 2025 – 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 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 18h54m20s 16°36'S Sagittarius 42.7"
Sun 21h31m -14°39' Capricornus 32'25"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 09 February 2022
Sunrise
06:48
Sunset
17:08
Twilight ends
18:44
Twilight begins
05:12

8-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous

63%

8 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:27 10:16 15:04
Venus 04:22 09:22 14:22
Moon 11:06 18:41 01:28
Mars 04:47 09:17 13:47
Jupiter 07:42 13:12 18:41
Saturn 06:44 11:44 16:43
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 Feb 2022  –  Venus at greatest brightness
15 Feb 2022  –  Venus at highest altitude in morning sky
20 Mar 2022  –  Venus at greatest elongation west
21 Mar 2022  –  Venus at dichotomy

Image credit

© NASA/Ricardo Nunes

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