2023-2024: Venus, Morning Star

Photo Caption – 2019, January 31: The crescent moon and Venus 15 minutes before sunrise.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Venus passes between Earth and the sun on August 13, 2023, moving rapidly into the morning sky.  It joins Jupiter and Saturn as bright morning planets, along with dimmer worlds Uranus and Neptune. The starry background in the eastern sky is the bright Orion region of the Milky Way, including Sirius, Betelgeuse, Rigel, Procyon, Capella, Castor, Pollux, and Aldebaran that are higher in the sky when Venus rises with them before sunrise.  Castor and Pollux are well up in the eastern sky and Venus does not reach them during this apparition. The Morning Star is near Regulus until their conjunction (2.3°) on October 9th

Chart Caption – Venus as a Morning Star – This chart shows the rising time of Venus, bright stars, other planets, and the moon compared to sunrise. (Data from the US Naval Observatory for Chicago, Illinois)

Summary for Venus as a Morning Star, 2023-24

Here is what to look for during this morning appearance:

About two weeks after inferior conjunction, Venus is easy to see low in the east-northeast, forty-five minutes before daybreak.  Look for Sirius and Procyon, higher than Venus and to the planet’s upper right.


Chart Caption – 2023, August 29: Venus is low in the east before daybreak. Sirius and Procyon appear in the vicinity.

Venus shines brightly in the eastern sky it climbs higher into the sky each morning as Venus gains over 100 minutes of rising time compared to daybreak. It stops retrograding and resumes eastward motion on the 4th.  Beginning approximately on the 10th, Venus and Sirius are about the same altitude in the eastern sky. On the 11th, the moon is over 11° to the upper left of the Morning Star. Venus reaches its interval of greatest brightness and greatest illuminated extent around midmonth. Watch the gap from Venus to Saturn increase during the month.  By October 10th, Venus rises as Saturn sets.  What is the last date you see Venus and Saturn simultaneously?

Chart Caption – 2023, September 22: At greatest elongation, Mercury is to the lower left of Venus and Regulus.

Mercury joins Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn in the predawn sky for its best morning appearance of the year, reaching greatest elongation (17.9°) on September 22nd.


Chart Caption – 2023, October 10: Venus, the crescent moon, and Regulus nicely fit into the same binocular field of view.

Brilliant Venus, moving eastward toward a conjunction with Regulus, rises nearly three hours before the sun.  The Venus-Regulus conjunction occurs on October 9th followed by the Venus-Saturn opposition the next morning.  Look for Venus, the crescent moon, and Regulus in the same binocular field that morning. Stepping eastward in Leo, the planet passes greatest elongation on the 23rd.  From the 26th through November 6th, Venus rises at its maximum time interval before the sun, 236 minutes.


Chart Caption – 2023, November 9: Venus, the crescent moon, and Zaniah fit neatly into a binocular field of view.

Venus crosses into Virgo early in the month after a widely-spaced conjunction with Leo’s Denebola.  The moon passes through and appears near Venus on the 9th as the planet approaches Zaniah (η Vir). 

Chart Caption – 2023, November 29: Venus passes 4.2° to the upper left of Spica.

Venus passes Porrima (γ Vir) and then Spica near month’s end.  The planet loses 13 minutes of rising time.


Chart Caption – 2023, December 8 and 9: Venus, Moon, and Spica

During the month, Venus reaches 1.0 Astronomical Units from earth. Venus and the moon are together on the 9th. The Venus-Jupiter opposition occurs on the 10th.  What is the last date you see them in the morning sky simultaneously? Beginning at mid-month, watch Venus pass between the Scorpion’s classic claws.

January 2024

Chart Caption – 2024, January 8: Venus, Moon, and Antares fit into the same binocular field of view.

Venus moves through Scorpius, Ophiuchus and into Sagittarius. On the 8th, Venus, Moon, and Antares appear in the same binocular field.  The moon occults the star after sunrise. Look for Venus and 1Ceres in the same binocular field on the 16th.

Chart Caption – 2024, January 16: Venus is 11.1° to the upper left of Mercury.

Mercury returns to the morning, sky to lower left of Venus at mid-month.

February and Beyond

Chart Caption – 2024, February 7: In a challenging view, Venus, Moon, and Mars are low in the southeast.

Brilliant Venus is on a slow descent into morning twilight as it advances toward superior conjunction (June 4th), losing less than a minute of rising time each morning.  Venus moves above Sagittarius’ Teapot and passes Mars during late February. During April, look for the challenging Venus-Moon conjunction.  The apparition’s final event is a close conjunction with Jupiter, but this is very close to the sun.

FOR THE RISING CHART NEAR THE TOP OF THE ARTICLE The rising chart above was calculated from data supplied by the US Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program and plotted with Microsoft Excel for Chicago, IllinoisThe rising time intervals compared to sunrise of the five bright planets and bright stars near the ecliptic are plotted, along with the rising time intervals of the moon (circles). The three levels of twilight are displayed as well.  The setting time intervals compared to sunrise of Jupiter and Saturn are shown. While Venus has the main attention of this summary, events with the moon, other planets, and stars, such as conjunctions and close gatherings are identified.


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