© 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 2096–2097 evening apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.4.

From San Diego , this apparition will be well placed and prominent, reaching a peak altitude of 38° above the horizon at sunset on 15 Jan 2097.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

2096–2097 evening apparition of Venus

14 May 2096 – Venus at superior solar conjunction
19 Dec 2096 – Venus at greatest elongation east
20 Dec 2096 – Venus at dichotomy
15 Jan 2097 – Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
26 Jan 2097 – Venus at greatest brightness

A graph of the phase of Venus is available here.

Apparitions of Venus

26 Feb 2094 – Morning apparition
14 May 2095 – Evening apparition
02 Oct 2095 – Morning apparition
19 Dec 2096 – Evening apparition
10 May 2097 – Morning apparition
24 Jul 2098 – Evening apparition
12 Dec 2098 – 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 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 21h14m50s 17°54'S Capricornus 25.0"
Sun 17h53m -23°25' Sagittarius 32'30"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 24 September 2022
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

28-day old moon
Waning Crescent


28 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:25 12:24 18:22
Venus 06:02 12:14 18:26
Moon 05:17 11:56 18:27
Mars 22:37 05:41 12:44
Jupiter 18:49 00:52 06:54
Saturn 16:40 21:59 03:19
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

19 Dec 2096  –  Venus at greatest elongation east
15 Jan 2097  –  Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
10 May 2097  –  Venus at greatest elongation west
17 Jul 2097  –  Venus at highest altitude in morning sky

Image credit

© NASA/Ricardo Nunes



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