2021: Venus as an Evening Star

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Venus is the brilliant Evening star, shining in the western sky after sunset during 2021. Venus is the bright star in the western sky for most of the year.

2020, May 22: Venus, Mercury, and Elnath make a compact triangle. Venus is 1.6° to the lower right of Mercury; Venus is 3.8° below Elnath; and the Mercury – Elnath gap is 3.4°.

Above: Venus during its 2019-2020 evening appearance.

Bookmark this page to check back on a gallery of images from this appearance of Venus.

Articles about Venus:

After the vernal equinox, Venus begins an evening apparition that is difficult to observe during the first three months. The planet’s visibility seems to lag after its superior conjunction on March 26, 2021.  Nearly a month later, it sets at Civil Twilight, coinciding with its first evening appearance in the west-northwest.

During the apparition, the planet first appears farther north along the horizon and then gently moves southward during the summer and early autumn. It sets at its farthest north point during late May and continues leaving the sky there for nearly three weeks. Until about the autumnal equinox, the planet is only about 10° up in the sky around 45 minutes after sunset.

Venus moves eastward along the ecliptic compared to the starry background until December 18.  During the next three weeks, until the planet’s inferior conjunction, Venus loses 134 minutes of setting time, over 6 minutes each evening.

Highlights of the planet’s evening appearance include three Mercury conjunctions, and conjunctions with Pollux, Mars, Regulus, Spica, and Antares.  While a challenge, Venus appears near the Beehive star cluster (July 2). Near mid-August a difficult view of the five bright planets is possible, although Mercury and Mars are very low in the western sky during bright twilight. Venus’ low celestial latitude places it among the stars of the classic Scorpion and the Teapot of Sagittarius later in the year.

During this apparition the crescent moon appears nine times with Venus.  The closest (1.2°) occurs on May 12.  The second closest (2.6°) occurs on October 9. The widest (11.5°) occurs January 3, 2022, five days before the Venusian planet’s inferior conjunction. The December 6 Venus – moon grouping (3.2°) should be very attractive to photographers with the moon only 10% illuminated near a dazzling Venus, during its interval of greatest brightness.

For the notes that follow, each entry tracks the planet’s magnitude, angular diameter, phase as the percent of the planet that is illuminated, its distance from Earth in Astronomical Units (AU) and the interval it sets after sunset – expressed in minutes (m).  When the moon is included in a note, its age in days (d) and fraction illuminated as a percent are listed. The time interval for the first four observations on the list is 30 minutes after sunset. Then, the window shifts to 45 minutes after sunset. 

Venus as an Evening Star, semi-technical summary

Venus as an Evening Star Article

2021, April 25: Mercury-Venus Conjunction, Mars, Bright Moon

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.

2021, April 24: Evening Star, Bright Mercury, Venus, Mars, Gibbous Moon

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.

2021, April 24: Lunar Occultation, Morning Planets, Jupiter Saturn

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.

2021, April 23: Evening Star Venus, Mercury, Mars, Moon

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.



Categories: Astronomy, Feature, Sky Watching

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