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!
- 2023, December 28: Gemini Moon, Morning Star, Jupiter, SaturnDecember 28, 2023: The bright moon is near Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins. Venus is in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter and Saturn shine during the evening hours.
- 2023, December 27: Morning Cold Moon, Morning Star, Jupiter, SaturnDecember 27, 2023: The Cold Moon is in the western sky before sunrise. Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are visible during nighttime hours.
- 2023, December 26: Cold Moon, Venus, Jupiter, SaturnDecember 26, 2023: The Cold Moon is visible during the nighttime hours. Venus shines before sunrise while Jupiter and Saturn are visible after sundown.
- 2023, December 25: Telescope First Light, Bright PlanetsDecember 25, 2023: For sky watchers with new telescopes, here’s what to look at before dawn or after sunset.
- 2023, December 24: Morning Moon, Pleiades, Antares Heliacal RisingDecember 24, 2023: The moon appears near the Pleiades star cluster during the earlier morning hours. Antares is at its first morning appearance, known as the heliacal rising.