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Venus at greatest brightness

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Inner Planets feed

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The sky at

Venus will reach its greatest brightness in its 2024–2025 evening apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.6.

From Cambridge , this apparition will be well placed and prominent, reaching a peak altitude of 39° above the horizon at sunset on 1 Feb 2025.

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 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
03 Nov 202416:3418:3115°south-west
13 Nov 202416:2318:4116°south-west
23 Nov 202416:1518:5619°south-west
03 Dec 202416:1119:1621°south
13 Dec 202416:1119:3725°south
23 Dec 202416:1519:5828°south
02 Jan 202516:2220:1732°south
12 Jan 202516:3320:3335°south-west
22 Jan 202516:4520:4538°south-west
01 Feb 202516:5820:5139°south-west
11 Feb 202517:1120:5038°south-west
21 Feb 202517:2320:3734°south-west
03 Mar 202517:3620:0827°west
13 Mar 202518:4820:1716°west

A graph of the brightness of Venus is available here.

Observing Venus

The 2024–2025 evening apparition of Venus
10 Jan 2025 – Venus at greatest elongation east
11 Jan 2025 – Venus at dichotomy
01 Feb 2025 – Venus reaches highest point in evening sky
16 Feb 2025 – Venus at greatest brightness

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 00h18m50s +06°53' Pisces 40.1"
Sun 21h59m -12°18' Aquarius 32'22"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 16 February 2025
Sunrise
06:39
Sunset
17:17
Twilight ends
18:51
Twilight begins
05:05

18-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

86%

18 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:03 12:22 17:42
Venus 07:48 14:16 20:45
Moon 21:45 02:32 08:19
Mars 13:21 21:12 05:07
Jupiter 11:06 18:35 02:08
Saturn 07:39 13:19 19:00
All times shown in EST.

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE405 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

16 Feb 2025  –  Venus at greatest brightness
19 Feb 2025  –  Venus at perihelion
22 Mar 2025  –  Venus at inferior solar conjunction
24 Apr 2025  –  Venus at greatest brightness

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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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