March 26, 2021: Venus reaches its superior conjunction today. The sun is between Earth and the planet.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Venus reaches its superior conjunction and begins a slow climb into the evening sky. Its first evening appearance does not occur until about April 19 when it sets at about Civil Twilight. This occurs when the sun is 6° below the horizon. During mid-April this occurs about 30 minutes after sunset.
The planet moves higher into the western evening sky through the rest of the year. It has a conjunction with Mars during the summer.
Near year’s end it is in a dashing grouping with the crescent moon. Venus – near its maximum brilliance – stands above a razor-thin moon on December 6.
Venus and Mercury revolve around the sun faster than Earth. Imagine a nearly circular track where the runners stay in their lanes and the runners on the inner lanes run faster than those on the outside lanes. Eventually, the runners in the inside lap those farther out.
Earth laps the planets farther from the sun and Mercury and Venus laps our planet. Venus was visible in the morning during the summer and autumn. It moved away and into the sun’s glare on the far side of its orbital path. This month it moves so that the sun is between Earth and Venus (superior conjunction).
With Venus’ faster speed, it eventually catches us and passes between Earth and the sun (inferior conjunction).
Venus now begins an evening appearance that ends early next year.
Happy Venus superior conjunction day!
April 25, 2021: Mercury passes Evening Star Venus this evening after sunset. Look low in the western sky about 20 minutes after sunset. Mars is marching eastward in Gemini, near the star cluster Messier 35. The bright moon is near Spica.
April 25, 2021: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter is in front of the stars of Aquarius, while Saturn’s starry background is Capricornus.
April 24, 2021: Brilliant Evening Star Venus and bright Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are low in the west-northwest during evening twilight. The bright moon is in the southeast in Virgo. Mars moves into Gemini as it approaches the star cluster Messier 35.
April 24, 2021: The bright gibbous moon is near a star in Virgo during the early morning. From parts of the Western Hemisphere, the moon covers the star. Before sunrise, bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.
April 23, 2021: Evening Star Venus and Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are found very low in the west-northwest after sunset. The bright moon is in the southeastern sky during the early evening. Mars is moving toward the star cluster Messier 35.