© 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 2022 morning apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.4.

From San Diego , this apparition will not be one of the most prominent but prominent, reaching a peak altitude of 27° above the horizon at sunrise on 19 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
19 Feb 2022 – Venus at highest altitude in morning sky
20 Mar 2022 – Venus at greatest elongation west
20 Mar 2022 – Venus at dichotomy
22 Oct 2022 – 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 San Diego local time.

Date Sun
rises at
rises at
at sunrise
at sunrise
Mag Phase
20 Jan 202206:4705:2016°south-east-4.45%
30 Jan 202206:4204:3323°south-east-4.614%
09 Feb 202206:3504:0426°south-east-4.623%
19 Feb 202206:2503:4827°south-east-4.631%
01 Mar 202206:1403:3927°south-east-4.538%
11 Mar 202206:0203:3426°south-east-4.545%
21 Mar 202206:4904:3025°south-east-4.450%
31 Mar 202206:3504:2624°south-east-4.355%
10 Apr 202206:2304:2123°south-east-4.259%
20 Apr 202206:1104:1523°south-east-4.264%
30 Apr 202206:0004:0822°east-4.167%
10 May 202205:5104:0022°east-4.171%

Altitude of Venus at sunrise

A graph of the phase 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 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 21h02m20s 14°50'S Capricornus 24.4"
Sun 00h01m 0°06'N Pisces 32'06"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 20 Mar 2022

The sky on 20 March 2022
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

18-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


18 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:28 12:13 17:58
Venus 04:32 09:56 15:19
Moon 20:41 02:37 08:24
Mars 04:36 09:49 15:02
Jupiter 06:25 12:14 18:02
Saturn 05:07 10:29 15:50
All times shown in PDT.


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

20 Mar 2022  –  Venus at greatest elongation west
12 May 2023  –  Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
04 Jun 2023  –  Venus at greatest elongation east
21 Oct 2023  –  Venus at highest altitude in morning sky

Image credit

© NASA/Ricardo Nunes


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