Tag: Venus

2018, December 26: Morning Star Venus and Jupiter

With a waning gibbous moon high in the southwest, brilliant morning star Venus shines during morning twilight from the southeast.  Jupiter is emerging from its solar conjunction.  Find a clear horizon to see Jupiter.

This morning the Venus-Jupiter gap is nearly 23 degrees.  Venus passes Jupiter on January 22.  The conjunction gap is about 2.4 degrees.  Watch the separation close during the opening days of the new year.

More about Venus and Jupiter


2018, December 24: Morning Star Venus and Jupiter

With a bright waning gibbous moon in the west, Jupiter joins brilliant Morning Star Venus in the southeastern sky.  Venus passes Jupiter in a widely-spaced conjunction on January 22.  Watch Venus close the gap during the next month.

More about Venus and Jupiter

2018, December 18: Mars and the Moon

With the planetary dance occurring in the southeastern sky during early morning twilight, Mars is the lone bright planet in the evening sky.  It starts in the south near the end of evening twilight.  During the next several weeks, it climbs higher in the southern sky as it moves among the stars.  Here’s our summary of Mars in 2019 until it reaches its solar conjunction.

The waning gibbous moon, 11.7 days past its new phase and 83% illuminated, brightens the sky high in the east this evening.

More about Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury in the morning sky:

2018: December 13: Morning Star Venus and Mercury

Bright Morning Star Venus and Mercury shine during twilight this morning in the southeastern sky.  The planet Venus is at its earliest rising time this morning for this appearance, rising shortly before 3:30 a.m. CST.  Mercury is displaying a very favorable morning appearance, although it nearly always appears during twilight.

More about Venus and Mercury

2019, February 18: A Venus-Saturn Conjunction

In early February 2019, Venus continues to dominate the pre-sunrise sky.  Saturn emerges from its solar conjunction in January.  Venus passes 1.1° to the upper left of Saturn on the morning of February 18, less than 4 weeks after its Jupiter conjunction.  Here are the events leading up to the Saturn conjunction:

  • February 1: Saturn (m = 0.6) rises just before the beginning of twilight. At 45 minutes before sunrise, Venus (m = −4.3), 18° up in the southeast, is 18° to the upper right of Saturn, 7° up in the southeast.  Jupiter (m = −1.9) is nearly 10° to the upper right of Venus.  The waning crescent moon (26.5 days old, 10% illuminated) is about midway between Venus and Saturn. ( The magnitude, m, of a star is a numerical value assigned to its brightness.  The brightest stars have a magnitude of 1.  However, the planets and exceptionally bright stars, like Sirius, are brighter.  So in order to rank really bright celestial objects, the magnitudes become negative.  The sun is so bright (m=-26) it makes daytime on our planet!  So looking at the magnitudes here, Venus is brighter than Jupiter; Jupiter is brighter than Saturn.  Even when the moon displays a thin crescent it is brighter than Venus.)

  • February 2: The waning crescent moon (27.5 days old, 5% illuminated) is 3.1° to the lower left of Saturn. The Venus-Saturn gap is 16.7°.
  • The gap continues to close: Feb. 9, 9.3°; Feb. 10, 8.6°; Feb. 11, 7.3°; Feb. 12, 6.1°; Feb. 13, 5.1°; Feb. 14, 4°; Feb. 15, 3.3°; Feb. 16; 2.2°; Feb. 17, 1.5°.  As we look at the moon, it is about 0.5° across.  That’s about equal to the size of your pointer finger when you stretch out your arm.  Two full moon diameters is 1.0°.

  • Feb. 18, Conjunction morning!  The separation is 1.1°. Venus is to the upper left of Saturn.  The planets look close, but they are about 900 million miles apart.  Traveling at the speed of our fastest spacecraft (25,000 miles per hour), the distance between them could be traversed in over 4 years! After the conjunction the gap widens: 19, 1.4°; Feb. 20, 2.4°; Venus is to the left of Saturn.

A second Venus-Saturn conjunction occurs during Saturn’s 2019 apparition.  It occurs in the southwest in mid-December.

Here is our feature article about Venus and its 2018-2019 appearance:

Here is a summary of the next six Venus-Saturn conjunctions:

                                      Venus-Saturn Conjunctions, 2019-2025

Date Location Separation Description
December 10, 2019 Southwest after sunset. 1.8° Look for the pair in the southwest after sunset.    Venus is to the lower left of Saturn.
February 6, 2021 Southeast before sunrise. 0.5° This is a very difficult conjunction to see.  Venus is only 2° up 10 minutes before sunrise.
March 29, 2022 East-southeast before sunrise. 2.1° About an hour before sunrise, the pair is easy to see. Venus is to the upper left of Saturn.  Mars is nearby, 4.4° to the upper right of Saturn.  On the morning before the conjunction, the waning crescent moon joins the scene.
January 22, 2023 West-southwest after sunset. 0.3° The pair is 8° up one hour after sunset.  Venus is left of Saturn.  The waxing crescent moon is about 8° to the upper left of Venus on the evening before the conjunction
March 21, 2024 East before sunrise. 0.6° This is another difficult conjunction to view.  The pair is less than 5° up 10 minutes before sunrise.  Venus is to the upper right of Saturn.
January 20, 2025 Southwest after sunset. 2.2° This is an easily viewed conjunction.  Venus is to the upper left of Saturn.  The pair is over 20° up in the southwest 2 hours after sunset.


2018, December 9: Morning Star Venus and Mercury

Brilliant Venus shines in the southeast during twilight this morning. Mercury, low in the sky, joins this brighter inner planet. (Look for Mercury with binoculars to first locate it. Zoom in on the image to see the planet.) During the next several mornings, Mercury is brighter and higher in the sky. Jupiter joins the view later in the month.

For more about Venus, and Mercury and Jupiter’s morning dance, see the following articles:

2018, December 13: Morning Star Venus Reaches Earliest Rise Time

Venus’ rapid appearance in the morning occurred quickly after its inferior conjunction in late October.  On December 13, it has its earliest rise time (3:23 a.m. CST in Chicago). This earliest rise time is 48 days after its conjunction with the sun. On this morning, the Venus-Spica separation is13.8°.

Nearly a week later (December 19), the time interval between Venus rise and sunrise is greatest, 3 hours, 51 minutes, during this morning appearance. While the Venus rising time is still 3:23 a.m. CST (in Chicago), sunrise changes 4 minutes earlier in a week week. The gap between sunrise and Venus rising now decreases, on average, about 1 minute each morning until Venus rises at the beginning of twilight less than three months from this morning. Venus and Spica are 10.6° apart. This morning Venus is 4.3° above Zubenelgenubi (α Lib, m = 2.8). Through a telescope, Venus has a very thick morning crescent phase that is 40% illuminated. As it approaches its greatest elongation, watch the phase grow to the morning half phase during the next 18 mornings.

Our feature article about the morning appearance of Venus: