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!
October 23, 2021: This morning the bright moon is near the Pleiades star cluster. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. In the evening sky, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are easy to spot.
October 22. 2021: Speedy Mercury is low in the east before sunrise. It is putting on its best morning performance of the year. Arcturus, in the east-northeast, is about the same altitude as Mercury.
October 21-November 1, 2021: Brilliant Venus steps through Ophiuchus to the upper left of the star Antares in the southwest after sunset . Afterward, the planet steps farther eastward.
October 21, 2021: The bright moon is low in the west about an hour before sunrise. Mercury is in the east at about the same altitude as Arcturus. Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter shine from the evening sky.
December 18, 2021: This is the anticipated launch date of the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most sophisticated space telescope view the universe.