© 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 2107–2108 evening apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -4.6.

From Seattle , this apparition will be exceptionally well placed and prominent, reaching a peak altitude of 41° above the horizon at sunset on 9 Mar 2108.

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2107–2108 evening apparition of Venus

28 Feb 2108 – Venus at greatest elongation east
02 Mar 2108 – Venus at dichotomy
09 Mar 2108 – Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
03 Apr 2108 – Venus at greatest brightness
09 May 2108 – Venus at inferior solar conjunction

A graph of the brightness of Venus is available here.

Apparitions of Venus

08 May 2105 – Morning apparition
22 Jul 2106 – Evening apparition
11 Dec 2106 – Morning apparition
28 Feb 2108 – Evening apparition
19 Jul 2108 – Morning apparition
03 Oct 2109 – Evening apparition
22 Feb 2110 – 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 03h14m40s 23°46'N Aries 38.0"
Sun 00h48m +05°10' Pisces 31'59"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 20 January 2022
Sunrise
07:47
Sunset
16:51
Twilight ends
18:40
Twilight begins
05:58

18-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

86%

18 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:49 12:40 17:30
Venus 06:10 10:59 15:48
Moon 18:36 02:16 09:42
Mars 05:47 09:55 14:04
Jupiter 09:19 14:34 19:49
Saturn 08:31 13:14 17:57
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

09 Mar 2108  –  Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
19 Jul 2108  –  Venus at greatest elongation west
03 Sep 2108  –  Venus at highest altitude in morning sky
11 Jun 2109  –  Venus at highest altitude in evening sky

Image credit

© NASA/Ricardo Nunes

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