© 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 2023 evening apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.5.

From Cambridge , this apparition will be well placed and prominent, reaching a peak altitude of 37° above the horizon at sunset on 10 May 2023.

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2023 evening apparition of Venus

30 Apr 2023 – Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
03 Jun 2023 – Venus at dichotomy
04 Jun 2023 – Venus at greatest elongation east
09 Jul 2023 – Venus at greatest brightness

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

Date Sun
sets at
Venus
sets at
Altitude
at sunset
Direction
at sunset
Mag Phase
30 Jan 202316:5518:5219°south-west-3.992%
09 Feb 202317:1119:1521°south-west-3.990%
19 Feb 202317:2219:4024°south-west-4.088%
01 Mar 202317:3620:0426°west-4.086%
11 Mar 202317:4520:2829°west-4.083%
21 Mar 202318:5821:5331°west-4.081%
31 Mar 202319:1022:1933°west-4.078%
10 Apr 202319:2322:4235°west-4.174%
20 Apr 202319:3223:0436°west-4.171%
30 Apr 202319:4523:1936°west-4.167%
10 May 202319:5623:3237°west-4.263%
20 May 202320:0323:4136°west-4.258%
30 May 202320:1623:3934°west-4.353%
09 Jun 202320:2123:2932°west-4.347%
19 Jun 202320:2623:1029°west-4.441%
29 Jun 202320:2822:4624°west-4.434%
09 Jul 202320:2522:1419°west-4.525%
19 Jul 202320:1821:3313°west-4.417%

Altitude of Venus at sunset

A graph of the brightness of Venus is available here.

Apparitions of Venus

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
31 May 2025 – Morning 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 09h48m30s 12°19'N Leo 38.4"
Sun 07h13m +22°21' Gemini 31'27"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 09 July 2023
Sunrise
05:13
Sunset
20:25
Twilight ends
22:33
Twilight begins
03:05

21-day old moon
Waning Crescent

48%

21 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:00 13:33 21:06
Venus 08:36 15:25 22:15
Moon --:-- 06:09 12:35
Mars 08:51 15:42 22:33
Jupiter 01:16 08:11 15:06
Saturn 22:52 04:15 09:39
All times shown in EDT.

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

04 Jun 2023  –  Venus at greatest elongation east
18 Oct 2023  –  Venus at highest altitude in morning sky
23 Oct 2023  –  Venus at greatest elongation west
10 Jan 2025  –  Venus at greatest elongation east

Image credit

© NASA/Ricardo Nunes

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Cambridge

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Longitude:
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42.38°N
71.11°W
EDT

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