© 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 2101 evening apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.4.

From Seattle , this apparition will not be one of the most prominent and tricky to observe, reaching a peak altitude of 16° above the horizon at sunset on 18 Jun 2101.

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2101 evening apparition of Venus

02 Mar 2101 – Venus at superior solar conjunction
18 Jun 2101 – Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
04 Oct 2101 – Venus at dichotomy
05 Oct 2101 – Venus at greatest elongation east
14 Nov 2101 – Venus at greatest brightness
15 Dec 2101 – Venus at inferior solar conjunction

A graph of the phase of Venus is available here.

Apparitions of Venus

12 Dec 2098 – Morning apparition
01 Mar 2100 – Evening apparition
21 Jul 2100 – Morning apparition
05 Oct 2101 – Evening apparition
25 Feb 2102 – Morning apparition
12 May 2103 – Evening apparition
01 Oct 2103 – 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 15h32m00s 22°35'S Libra 24.3"
Sun 12h35m -03°48' Virgo 31'57"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 21 January 2022
Sunrise
07:46
Sunset
16:53
Twilight ends
18:41
Twilight begins
05:57

19-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

85%

19 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:41 12:31 17:21
Venus 06:05 10:54 15:43
Moon 19:47 03:02 10:03
Mars 05:46 09:55 14:03
Jupiter 09:15 14:31 19:47
Saturn 08:27 13:11 17:54
All times shown in PST.

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

18 Jun 2101  –  Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
05 Oct 2101  –  Venus at greatest elongation east
18 Jan 2102  –  Venus at highest altitude in morning sky
25 Feb 2102  –  Venus at greatest elongation west

Image credit

© NASA/Ricardo Nunes

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