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Venus in the Morning Sky, 2018-2019

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Figure 1:  Venus shines in the morning sky with a crescent moon on September 17, 2017

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Venus as a Morning Star, 2018-2019

Venus returns to the morning sky in late 2018 and shines from the eastern sky until the middle of summer 2019.  The photo above (Figure 1) shows Venus on September 17, 2017, during the last morning appearance.  During  this appearance Venus has conjunctions with Jupiter and Saturn, and a close approach to Mercury.  Venus rises very rapidly in the morning sky after its inferior conjunction on October 26, 2018.  It seems to be chasing Spica into the sky.  By mid-December, Venus rises nearly four hours before sunrise, then begins to slide back toward the sun, taking nearly eight months to reach superior conjunction.

Bookmark this page to return to it follow the progress of Venus in the morning sky,

For readers wanting a detailed and more technical description of the appearance, click here.

Figure 2:  Venus at Inferior Conjunction: October 26, 2018

The morning appearance begins on October 26, 2018, when Venus moves between the earth and sun (inferior conjunction) (Figure 2). It is typically not visible at these times, but Venus is not lined up with the earth and sun. It passes below imaginary line between the earth and sun. Venus might be visible in the clear sky. Around noon, stand under an overhang that blocks the sun. Binoculars or a small telescope might be needed to initially locate it. It is very important not to point any optical instrument at the sun. The light collecting properties of the binoculars or a telescope can damage the device or cause irreparable damage to eyes if you are looking through them. With optical help from a telescope, Venus displays a very thin crescent.

Figure 3:  The rising times of stars and planets compared to sunrise.  The rising of Venus compared to sunrise
is displayed on the green line.  The moon’s rising is shown by the circles.

Venus then quickly moves into the morning sky the chart above (Figure 3) shows the rising time interval of Venus compared to sunrise; the rising time intervals for stars and other planets are shown as well. The circles show the rising time intervals for the moon.  The setting times for Jupiter and Saturn are included.  This occurs in the western sky.  When these planets set at sunrise, they are at opposition.

When the rising line of Venus crosses the rising line of another star or planet they rise at the same time. They are closest within a day or so of this intersection. When a moon circle appears near the rising line, the moon appears near Venus within a day or so.

The three phases of twilight: Civil Twilight, when the sun is 6° below the horizon; Nautical Twilight, sun is 12° below the horizon; and Astronomical Twilight, sun is 18° below the horizon at this time; the sky is as dark as it gets naturally.

This chart was composed from data by the US naval observatory for Chicago, Illinois.

Note that Venus appears seemingly suddenly in the morning sky. It appears to be chasing the star Spica. After Venus reaches its greatest brilliance and greatest elongation, it begins a slow fade into the sun’s glare. On the way it passes Jupiter, and Antares, and Saturn, along with other sign posts.

Venus and Spica, November 2018

Venus seems to be chasing Spica into the sky.  These charts show the pair about 30 minutes before sunrise.

Figure 4:  November 4, 2018, Venus is
4.4° below Spica.

Update:  November 10, 2018


Figure 5:  Venus is closing the gap on Spica.

Figure 6: Venus closes about one degree of Spica in mid-November. There is no conjunction but this is the closest approach — a quasi conjunction

Venus at Greatest Brightness

Figure 7:  This chart shows the location of Venus
during its 11-day stage of greatest brightness.


Figure 8:  Look for Venus and Sirius about 2 hours before sunrise in late November.

A Morning Planet Dance

Figure 9:  The morning planet dance of Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury in late December 2018.

Venus at Morning Greatest Elongation

Figure 10:  Venus at greatest elongation,
January 5, 2009

Venus-Jupiter:  A Widely-Spaced Conjunction

Figure 11:  Venus, Jupiter, and Antares,
January 17, 2019.  Venus
approaches Jupiter

Figure 12: A widely-spaced Venus-Jupiter conjunction.

Venus continues to move eastward against the starry background, away from Jupiter and toward Saturn.

Venus-Saturn Conjunction

Figure 13:  A Venus-Saturn conjunction,
February 18, 2019

Heading Into Twilight & A Close Approach to Mercury

Figure 14: A Venus-Mercury quasi-conjunction,
April 16, 2019

Figure 15:  A Venus-Mercury-Moon grouping,
May 2, 2019

A Bright Twilight Conjunction With Aldebaran

Figure 16:  Venus-Aldebaran,
June 17, 2019

Heading Toward Conjunction

Figure 17:  Venus and the moon, July 1, 2019

July 21: Clearly rising in bright twilight, Venus rises farthest north, azimuth equals 57°, the same position the sun rose at the summer solstice. Tomorrow, Venus rises at Civil Twilight (sun’s altitude is −6°), about 30 minutes before sunrise.Figure 18:  Venus at Superior Conjunction,
August 14, 2019

Appearances with Moon

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