© 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 2096–2097 evening apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.7.

From Fairfield , this apparition will not be one of the most prominent but prominent, reaching a peak altitude of 35° above the horizon at sunset on 18 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

19 Dec 2096 – Venus at greatest elongation east
20 Dec 2096 – Venus at dichotomy
18 Jan 2097 – Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
26 Jan 2097 – Venus at greatest brightness

A graph of the brightness 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 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 23h01m00s 3°06'S Pisces 41.3"
Sun 20h33m -18°45' Capricornus 32'29"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 10 August 2022
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

13-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


13 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:50 14:22 20:54
Venus 04:17 11:38 18:59
Moon 18:39 --:-- 03:37
Mars 23:58 07:04 14:11
Jupiter 22:00 04:10 10:19
Saturn 20:09 01:17 06:24
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

18 Jan 2097  –  Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
10 May 2097  –  Venus at greatest elongation west
25 Jul 2097  –  Venus at highest altitude in morning sky
27 May 2098  –  Venus at highest altitude in evening sky

Image credit

© NASA/Ricardo Nunes






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