Evening Star: Venus in 2014-2015

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This appearance of Venus has ended.

Venus last appeared in the evening sky in 2013.  It appears as an Evening Star from late October 2014 until August 2015.

Venus disappears into bright morning sunlight during late October 2014 and moves into the western evening sky becoming a brilliant Evening Star by the end of 2014. It becomes visible in the southwestern evening sky during late November.   (Click all the images to see them larger.)  The planet puts on a magnificent display during the April, May, and June, 2015.

Venus at superior conjunction, October 25, 2014.

Venus moves to the far side of its orbit and far side of the sun on October 25 (superior conjunction).  At this time, it rises at sunrise; it is south at noon; and sets at sunset.  Venus is not in precise alignment behind the sun, but it is 1 degree above the sun.  Venus is about 160 million miles away at superior conjunction, about 670 times the distance to the moon.

Times are on the diagrams to show the times of noon and midnight.  Additionally the morning side of the sky is distinguished from the evening side with the evening planets.  These times are referenced from our planet.  Notice that we never see Venus in the midnight sky.  (The midnight arrow never points at or goes through Venus.)

This chart shows the difference in the times of sunset and Venus setting, Calculated from data supplied by the US Naval Observatory.

After superior conjunction, Venus slowly moves into the evening sky. By the end of November it appears in bright twillight low in the southwestern sky, setting about 30 minutes after the sun although it is difficult to see.  During December it sets about 1 minute later each evening.  By the opening of the new year (2015), Venus sets about 75 minutes after sunset in the west-southwest.  By the Vernal Equinox, Venus sets nearly three hours after sunset in the west sky. The time between Venus set and sunset continues until May 7, when it sets nearly 3 hours, 45 minutes after the sun.  It stands high in the western sky after sunset, displaying its brilliance.

The solar system makes a sharp angle with the horizon so that planets appearing in the western evening sky seem to appear there for long times before they set.  During the spring months, Venus appears high in the sky when the sky is dark.

Venus reaches its greatest apparent separation from the sun on June 6, 2015

About a month later, Venus appears farthest from the sun (greatest elongation east), setting about 3 hours, 10 minutes after the sun.  The red line and yellow line on the chart above create an angle with the earth at the vertex.  The angle formed by Venus, Earth, and the sun is at its maximum.  Venus’ rapid orbital motion is bringing it closer to our planet.

Venus reaches its greatest separation from the sun on June 6, 2015.

By mid-July, Venus sets less than two hours after the sun reaching its greatest brightness of this evening appearance.  The brightness of Venus from its distance from Earth and the phase of Venus.  At greatest brilliance, Venus appears as a crescent through a telescope.  At this time, Venus is 41 million miles from Earth.

Through a telescope (100x), Venus appears as a crescent at greatest brilliancy.

By August 15, the Venus moves between Earth and Sun (Inferior conjunction).

During the next month, Venus rapidly dives into bright evening twilight.  By August 15, Venus passes between Earth and Sun (inferior conjunction) and moves into the morning sky.

This chart shows the setting position of Venus compared to the position of sunset.

Venus’ changing setting position and sunset are shown in the chart above. Venus sets south of sunset, farther left on the horizon, until late December 2014.  Then until early June, Venus sets north of the sunset point; that is, it sets to the right of the sunset point.  During the remainder of its appearance, it sets south of the sunset point.

During the 2014-2015 evening apparition, Venus appears in a part of the sky that has mainly faint stars.  Below are some notable events of Venus as an Evening Star in 2014-2015.

Appearances With the Moon

  • December 23, 2014

  • January 21, 2015

  • February 20, 2015

  • March 22, 2015

  • April 21, 2015

  • May 21, 2015

  • June 20 and June 21, 2015

  • July 18, 2015

Appearances With Bright Planets and Stars

  • Mercury, January 7, 2015

  • Mars, February 21, 2015

  • Pleiades, April 15, 2015
  • Aldebaran, April 19, 2015

  • Elnath, May 1, 2015
  • Beehive Star Cluster, June 13, 2015
  • Jupiter, June 30, 2015

  • Regulus, July 13, 2015

Please bookmark this page and return to it throughout the apparition as we chronicle Venus as an Evening Star with photos of the events.



Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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2 replies

  1. Why does avenues disappear at midnight. Such a basic question until the brainy people decided to make it complicated. You should just say, Venus disappears at midnight because, and give a quick answer. That way we won’t fall asleep reading while you try to show us how smart and boring you are.

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