2021, August – September: Venus in Virgo

Still visible low in the western sky during evening twilight, Venus treks through Virgo during 39 evenings, beginning August 10.  During mid-August attempt to view five planets in the sky simultaneously. The challenging view is with Mercury and Mars that are low in the western sky during very bright twilight. Venus passes Spica on September 5.  A nice grouping of Venus, the moon, and Spica occurs on September 9.  Near mid-month, Venus begins to rapidly close on Earth. The planet quickly brightens in the sky. After late September, Venus begins to set after the end of evening twilight.

2021, August 10: The moon the moon is 5.7° to the right of Venus.
2021, August 10: The moon the moon is 5.7° to the right of Venus.

The time interval for the descriptions and charts is 45 minutes after sunset. To track Venus as it moves through the constellation and passes dimmer stars, see this, semi-technical summary.

Venus as an Evening Star Article

On August 10 and August 11, the crescent moon is near Venus.  On August 10, the moon – 7% illuminated – is 5.7° to the right of Venus.

2021, August 11: The crescent moon is 8.1° to the upper left of Venus.
2021, August 11: The crescent moon is 8.1° to the upper left of Venus.

On the next evening the moon – 14% illuminated – is 8.1° to the upper left of the brilliant planet.

During mid-August, it may be possible to see five planets simultaneously.  Mercury and Mars are the challenging grouping.  Mercury is making a poorly-observed visit.

2021, August 24: Venus passes 2.5° to the lower left of Gamma Virginis (γ Vir).
2021, August 24: Venus passes 2.5° to the lower left of Gamma Virginis (γ Vir).

On August 24, Venus passes 2.5° to the lower left of Gamma Virginis (γ Vir on the chart).

2021, September 5: Venus passes is 1.5° to the upper right of Spica.
2021, September 5: Venus passes is 1.5° to the upper right of Spica.

Venus passes Spica, the constellation’s brightest star on September 5, when the planet is 1.5° to the upper right of the star.

2021, September 9: Venus, the crescent moon, and Spica make a nice triangle in the western sky after sunset.
2021, September 9: Venus, the crescent moon, and Spica make a nice triangle in the western sky after sunset.

On September 9, less than 8° above the west-southwest horizon, Venus is 3.9° to the lower left of the moon.  Notice Spica, 5.0° from Venus, makes a nice triangle with the planet and the moon.  Spica is 4.8° below the moon.  The chart above shows a simulated binocular view of the scene.  See them low in the west-southwest.



Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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