© 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 2023–2024 morning apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.5.

From Ashburn , this apparition will be exceptionally well placed and prominent, reaching a peak altitude of 42° above the horizon at sunrise on 20 Oct 2023.

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2023–2024 morning apparition of Venus

13 Aug 2023 – Venus at inferior solar conjunction
18 Sep 2023 – Venus at greatest brightness
19 Oct 2023 – Venus at highest altitude in morning sky
22 Oct 2023 – Venus at dichotomy
23 Oct 2023 – Venus at greatest elongation west

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

Date Sun
rises at
rises at
at sunrise
at sunrise
Mag Phase
20 Aug 202306:2405:49east-4.13%
30 Aug 202306:3304:5119°east-4.49%
09 Sep 202306:4304:0929°east-4.518%
19 Sep 202306:5203:4336°east-4.527%
29 Sep 202307:0103:3040°east-4.535%
09 Oct 202307:1003:2742°south-east-4.542%
19 Oct 202307:2003:3142°south-east-4.448%
29 Oct 202307:3103:4042°south-east-4.353%
08 Nov 202306:4202:5241°south-east-4.358%
18 Nov 202306:5303:0739°south-east-4.263%
28 Nov 202307:0403:2436°south-east-4.267%
08 Dec 202307:1303:4233°south-east-4.170%
18 Dec 202307:2104:0230°south-east-4.174%
28 Dec 202307:2504:2227°south-east-4.177%
07 Jan 202407:2704:4323°south-east-4.080%

Altitude of Venus at sunrise

A graph of the brightness of Venus is available here.

Apparitions of Venus

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
14 Aug 2026 – 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 09h06m10s 11°31'N Cancer 38.3"
Sun 11h41m 1°59'N Virgo 31'49"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 18 Sep 2023

The sky on 18 September 2023
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

3-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


3 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:29 12:00 18:30
Venus 03:46 10:27 17:08
Moon 10:13 15:37 20:53
Mars 08:26 14:12 19:59
Jupiter 21:20 04:13 11:06
Saturn 18:15 23:36 04:58
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

04 Jun 2023  –  Venus at greatest elongation east
20 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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