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Direction, Altitude & Visibility Duration of Venus after Sunset, July 2025 - March 2026:

Look-up Tables

Horizon Diagrams

2024-25 Evening Apparition Data

Venus Conjunctions with other Planets, 2024-25

Moon near Venus Dates, Aug 2024 to Mar 2025

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Venus Through the Telescope

The Venus Morning Apparition of 2023-24

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Star chart showing the paths of Venus and Mercury through the zodiac constellations for the earlier part of Venus' evening apparition in 2024-25. Click for full-size image (Copyright Martin J Powell 2024)

The paths of Venus, Mercury and Saturn through the zodiac constellations during the earlier part of Venus' evening apparition in 2024-25 (click on the thumbnail for the full-size image). The latter part of the planets' apparition is shown in the chart below. Positions are plotted for 0 hrs Universal Time (UT) at 5-day intervals.

Both evening and morning apparitions of Mercury are included for the July-October periods, but only the earlier part of the planet's October-November evening apparition is shown. Wherever a planet is too close to the Sun to view, the path is shown by a dashed line (- -). Hence Mercury's evening apparition ends in early August 2024 when it becomes lost from view in the dusk twilight. The planet is then unobservable for about three weeks before it re-emerges in the morning sky later that same month. Because Mercury is mostly seen under twilit conditions, many of the fainter stars shown in the planet's vicinity may not be visible when the planet itself is observed.

For Venus, apparition data for the dates shown in bright white (at 10-day intervals) are included in the table below. The positions at which Mercury attains greatest elongation from the Sun are indicated by the letters 'GE', with the solar elongation angle in brackets. Eastern elongations apply for evening apparitions and Western elongations for morning apparitions (the elongation of Venus is Easterly throughout the chart coverage). Note that the late June to early August evening apparition of Mercury shown on the chart favours Southern hemisphere observers (who should refer to the Southern hemisphere chart for a more appropriate orientation) whilst the late August to mid-September morning apparition favours Northern hemisphere observers. The late October to late November evening apparition - the early part of which appears on the star map - favours Southern hemisphere observers.

The faintest stars shown have an apparent magnitude of about +4.8. Printer-friendly versions of this chart are available for Northern and Southern hemisphere views. Astronomical co-ordinates of Right Ascension (longitude, measured Eastwards in hrs:mins) and Declination (latitude, measured in degrees North or South of the celestial equator) are marked around the border of the chart.

Click here to see a star map of the area without planet paths; a printable version can be found here.

A planetary conjunction of Venus with Mercury takes place on August 6th 2024, indicated on the chart by the symbol Conjunction symbol. For more details see the planetary conjunctions section below.

The three star names shown in yellow-green were formally recognised by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2017 and 2018.

The Venus Evening Apparition of 2024-2025

by Martin J. Powell

Following superior conjunction on June 4th 2024 (when it passes directly behind the Sun in Northern Taurus) Venus' 2024-25 apparition as an 'Evening Star' commences as the planet emerges into the dusk sky in late June 2024. Observers at Equatorial and Tropical latitudes are the first to see it, low down in the WNW sky soon after sunset. Southern latitudes begin to see the planet during the first week of July. Northern latitudes first detect the planet from around early July (at 30 North), mid-July (40 North) and early August (50 North). From high-Northern latitudes, low altitude (angle above the horizon) and twilight delay the first appearance of the planet until the first week of November (at 60 North).

2 0 2 4  June- July

In late June Venus is moving in an Easterly direction (direct or prograde) through the constellation of Gemini, the Twins, entering Cancer, the Crab, on July 10th.

On July 10th Venus passes through its closest orbital point to the Sun, known as the perihelion, at a solar distance of 0.7184 AU (Astronomical Unit), equivalent to 107.5 million kms or 66.8 million statute miles. It is one of two occasions during this apparition when it does so, the next being in February 2025. In the meantime the planet's most distant point from the Sun will be reached one half-orbit later, in October 2024.

Venus reaches a solar elongation (angle measured from the Sun) of 10 East on July 11th, shining at an apparent magnitude of -3.8. From mid to late July the planet is pulling away from the Sun at a rate of 0.27 per day. At this early stage of the apparition, when seen through a telescope, Venus shows a broad gibbous shape (i.e. a little less than a full disk), its phase (the percentage of the illuminated portion of the disk) being around 97%. The planet's apparent diameter measures around 10" across (10 arcseconds, where 1" = 1/60th of an arcminute or 1/3600 of a degree). The planet's low altitude, its great distance from the Earth and its small apparent size make Venus a difficult object to observe telescopically at this time, with no detail being visible in its clouds.

A distant Venus imaged by Mitsuji Morita in February 2023 (Image: Mitsuji Morita/ALPO-Japan)

A Distant Venus imaged in February 2023 by Mitsuji Morita (Moriyama, Shiga, Japan) at the start of the planet's 2022-23 evening apparition. Venus was 25 from the Sun, 91% illuminated and 11" across. Morita took the image in daylight using a self-made 12-inch (318 mm) Newtonian reflector telescope fitted with a CMOS camera (Image: Mitsuji Morita / ALPO-Japan)

As Venus becomes visible from mid-Northern latitudes around mid-July, it joins the planet Mercury in the evening sky. Mercury, currently in the Eastern half of Cancer and shining at magnitude +0.4, has been an evening object since early July, visible towards the North-west for a short period at dusk. This is Mercury's second evening apparition of 2024 and the first of three paired apparitions which take place between the two planets during Venus' 2024-25 evening apparition (a paired apparition being when the two planets are visible together for a prolonged period of time, either in the morning sky or the evening sky). Due to Solar System geometry, apparitions of Mercury typically favour either Northern or Southern hemisphere observers; on this occasion the Southern hemisphere is favoured. In mid-July the planet's motion is East-south-eastwards against the stars, entering Leo, the Lion on July 15th and moving to the South of the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun, which the Moon and planets follow very closely) on July 17th. During this period Venus and Mercury maintain a steady distance apart of 14.7, but from July 19th the angular distance between them slowly reduces, from 14.6 on the 19th to 14.3 on the 21st. Mercury reaches its greatest elongation from the Sun (26.9 East) on July 22nd, positioned 14.1 to the ESE of Venus.

Now visible from all except higher Northern latitudes, Venus enters Leo, the Lion, on July 26th, with Mercury (mag. +0.7) located 12.7 to its ESE.

On July 27th Venus passes 25.3 North of Alphard (Greek lower-case letter 'alpha' Hya or Alpha Hydrae, mag. +2.0), the brightest star in Hydra, the Water Snake. It is an orange giant star whose name is Arabic for 'the Solitary One' since there are no other bright stars for some distance around it. At this time of the year the star is not observable to the North of about latitude 10 North.

Venus attains a solar elongation of 15 East of the Sun on July 29th. Mercury's slowing motion against the stars of South-western Leo allows Venus to rapidly close its angular distance upon Mercury over the coming days, from 11.4 at midnight UT on July 29th to 10.1 at midnight UT on the 31st.

On July 30th Venus passes 5.6 North of the star Subra (Greek lower-case letter 'omicron' Leo or Omicron Leonis, mag. +3.5), a name which is Arabic for a mane or shoulder. Like Alphard, at this time of the year the star is not observable North of about latitude 10 North.

Between July 31st and August 7th Venus is positioned South of an asterism (star pattern) commonly known as the Sickle of Leo, at the Western end of the Lion, which appears to the naked-eye as a backward question-mark (A backward question-mark). The asterism is currently viewable for a short period after dusk from Northern hemisphere latitudes up to about 45 North; from the Southern hemisphere the asterism's seasonal appearance has now passed, having become lost in the dusk twilight. Venus passes 8.6 South of the star Ras Elased Australis (Greek lower-case letter 'epsilon' Leo or Epsilon Leonis, mag. +2.9), at the upper North-western end ('pointed end') of the sickle, on July 31st.

2 0 2 4  August

Venus passes 11.4 South of the star Rasalas (Greek lower-case letter 'mu' Leo or Mu Leonis, mag. +3.9), at the top of the Sickle of Leo, on August 1st. At the base of the sickle (the 'dot' of the backward question-mark) is Leo's brightest star, Regulus (Greek letter Alpha Leo or Alpha Leonis, mag. +1.3). Venus passes 1.1 North of the star on August 4th.

Mercury, having faded to magnitude +1.4, reaches its Eastern stationary point on August 4th in South-western Leo, close to that constellation's boundary with Sextans, the Sextant. Venus is now only 7.4 away to its North-west and closing in rapidly. The waxing crescent Moon passes by the two planets from August 5th to 6th.

At 1515 UT on August 6th Venus finally catches up with Mercury, passing 5.9 to the North of it in an event called a planetary conjunction. A planetary conjunction takes place when two planets attain the same celestial longitude, so that they appear close together in the sky. This is the first of four such conjunctions that Venus will encounter during its 2024-25 evening apparition (one of the others also being with Mercury). This particular conjunction can only be observed - with some difficulty - from latitudes South of about 15 North (see the Planetary Conjunctions section below for more details). Following conjunction, Mercury swiftly heads in towards the Sun over the next few days, disappearing from view in the bright dusk twilight.

On August 7th Venus passes 7.8 South of Algieba (Greek lower-case letter 'gamma'1 Leo or Gamma-1 Leonis, mag. +2.3), a star in the Sickle at the base of the Lion's neck. It is a double star with golden-yellow components (Greek lower-case letter 'gamma'1 Leo and Greek lower-case letter 'gamma'2 Leo) of magnitudes +2.3 and +3.6, separated by an angular distance of 4".7. The pair are about 130 light years from Earth (where 1 light year = 63,240 AU) and they orbit each other in a period of 554 years. The star is easily split in small telescopes and is considered to be one of the finest double stars in the night sky. An exoplanet (a planet orbiting a star beyond our Solar System) was detected orbiting Algieba in 2009, named Gamma-1 Leonis b. Its mass is equivalent to 8.8 Jupiter masses and it orbits the star at a distance of 1.2 AU in a period of 428 days.

Venus attains a solar elongation of 20 East of the Sun on August 16th. On August 19th the planet passes 14.1 South of the star Zosma (Greek lower-case letter 'delta' Leo or Delta Leonis, mag. +2.7), at the rump of the Lion. By this time of year Zosma has become unobservable from higher Northern latitudes and from South of the Equator.

Around mid-August Venus is setting some 30 minutes after sunset at high-Northern latitudes, 45 minutes after sunset at mid-Northern latitudes, 1 hours after sunset at Equatorial and Tropical latitudes and 1 hours after sunset at mid-Southern latitudes. The period of time during which Venus is visible after sunset during the current apparition is shown in the 'Dur' column of the Direction-Altitude tables below.

On August 24th Venus enters Virgo, the Virgin or Maiden, passing 30' (0.5) North of the star Zavijava (Greek lower-case letter 'beta' Vir or Beta Virginis, mag. +3.6), at the back of the Maiden's head, at 08 hours UT on August 27th. Before standardization by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2016 the star was also known by the names Zavijah, Zavyava or Alaraph.

Date

Constellation

Apparent

Magnitude

Apparent

Diameter

(arcsecs)

View from

Earth

(0h UT)

(North up)

Distance (AU)*

Solar

Elongation

Illuminated

Phase

from Earth

from Sun

2024

Jul 24

Astrological symbol for Cancer

Cnc

-3.8

10".0

View of Venus from Earth on July 24th 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

1.6652

0.7188

13E

97%

Aug 3

Astrological symbol for Leo

Leo

-3.8

10".2

View of Venus from Earth on August 3rd 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

1.6344

0.7185

16E

96%

Aug 13

Astrological symbol for Leo

Leo

-3.8

10".4

View of Venus from Earth on August 13th 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

1.5984

0.7185

19E

94%

Aug 23

Astrological symbol for Leo

Leo

-3.8

10".7

View of Venus from Earth on August 23rd 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

1.5579

0.7188

21E

93%

Sep 2

Astrological symbol for Virgo

Vir

-3.8

11".0

View of Venus from Earth on September 2nd 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

1.5131

0.7230

24E

91%

Sep 12

Astrological symbol for Virgo

Vir

-3.8

11".4

View of Venus from Earth on September 12th 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

1.4645

0.7244

27E

89%

Sep 22

Astrological symbol for Virgo

Vir

-3.9

11".8

View of Venus from Earth on September 22nd 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

1.4124

0.7256

29E

87%

Oct 2

Astrological symbol for Libra

Lib

-3.9

12".3

View of Venus from Earth on October 2nd 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

1.3572

0.7267

31E

85%

Oct 12

Astrological symbol for Libra

Lib

-3.9

12".8

View of Venus from Earth on October 12th 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

1.2992

0.7275

34E

82%

Oct 22

Astrological symbol for Scorpius

Sco

-3.9

13".5

View of Venus from Earth on October 22nd 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

1.2385

0.7280

36E

80%

Nov 1

 

Oph

-4.0

14".2

View of Venus from Earth on November 1st 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

1.1755

0.7282

38E

77%

Nov 11

Astrological symbol for Sagittarius

Sgr

-4.0

15".0

View of Venus from Earth on November 11th 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

1.1104

0.7279

40E

74%

Nov 21

Astrological symbol for Sagittarius

Sgr

-4.1

16".0

View of Venus from Earth on November 21st 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

1.0432

0.7273

42E

71%

Dec 1

Astrological symbol for Sagittarius

Sgr

-4.2

17".1

View of Venus from Earth on December 1st 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

0.9742

0.7264

43E

68%

Dec 11

Astrological symbol for Capricornus

Cap

-4.2

18".4

View of Venus from Earth on December 11th 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

0.9035

0.7253

45E

64%

Dec 21

Astrological symbol for Capricornus

Cap

-4.3

20".0

View of Venus from Earth on December 21st 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

0.8314

0.7240

46E

60%

Dec 31

Astrological symbol for Capricornus

Cap

-4.4

22".0

View of Venus from Earth on December 31st 2024 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

0.7582

0.7226

47E

56%

2025

Jan 10

Astrological symbol of Aquarius

Aqr

-4.4

24".4

View of Venus from Earth on January 10th 2025 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

0.6843

0.7213

47E

51%

Jan 20

Astrological symbol of Aquarius

Aqr

-4.5

27".3

View of Venus from Earth on January 20th 2025 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

0.6102

0.7202

47E

45%

Jan 30

Astrological symbol for Pisces

Psc

-4.6

31".0

View of Venus from Earth on January 30th 2025 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

0.5370

0.7192

45E

39%

Feb 9

Astrological symbol for Pisces

Psc

-4.6

35".8

View of Venus from Earth on February 9th 2025 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

0.4660

0.7187

43E

32%

Feb 19

Astrological symbol for Pisces

Psc

-4.6

41".7

View of Venus from Earth on February 19th 2025 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

0.3998

0.7184

38E

24%

Mar 1

Astrological symbol for Pisces

Psc

-4.5

48".7

View of Venus from Earth on March 1st 2025 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

0.3423

0.7186

31E

14%

Mar 11

Astrological symbol for Pisces

Psc

-4.3

55".6

View of Venus from Earth on March 11th 2025 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

0.3000

0.7191

20E

6%

Mar 21

Astrological symbol for Pisces

Psc

-4.1

59".4

View of Venus from Earth on March 21st 2025 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator)

0.2810

0.7200

9E

1%

* 1 AU (Astronomical Unit) = 149,597,870 kms (92,955,806 statute miles)

Table of selected data relating to the evening apparition of Venus during 2024-25. The data is listed at 10-day intervals, corresponding with the dates shown in bright white on the star charts 1 and 2. The data for the table was obtained from NASA JPL's Horizons System with additional data from'SkyGazer Ephemeris' software by John Biondo. The Venusian disk images were derived from NASA's Solar System Simulator.

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On August 31st Venus crosses to the South of the celestial equator, where the declination (symbol Greek lower-case letter 'delta') of a celestial body is 0. On this day the planet sets due West from across the inhabited world.

2 0 2 4  September

At around 22 hours UT on September 2nd Venus passes 26' (0.43) South of the star Zaniah (Greek lower-case letter 'eta' Vir or Eta Virginis, mag. +3.8), which is positioned at the rear of the Maiden's head.

From around 17 hours UT on September 5th an event known as a lunar occultation takes place; this is when the Moon is seen to pass in front of a planet (in this case Venus) blocking the planet from view for a short period of time. Because of the effect of lunar parallax, such events - much like total solar eclipses - can only be seen from specific parts of the world on any given occasion. The September 5th event - the only lunar occultation of the 2024-25 apparition - is unfortunately only visible (in twilight) from Antarctica (the Polar Plateau and the South Pole).

On September 6th Venus passes 2.8 North of the star 25 Virginis (mag. +5.8) which the planet will occult (pass in front of) during its evening apparition in 2026. On September 7th the planet passes 4.7 North of the star Greek lower-case letter 'chi' Vir (Chi Virginis, mag. +4.6), which was found to have an exoplanet in 2009. Named Chi Virginis b, the planet is thought to have a mass equivalent to 11 Jupiter masses and orbits Chi Virginis at a distance of 2.1 AU in a period of 835 days. Chi Virginis is currently one of around 30 stars in Virgo which have been confirmed to have exoplanets.

Also on September 7th, Venus passes 2.1 South of the star Porrima (Greek lower-case letter 'gamma' Vir or Gamma Virginis, mag. +2.8), named after one of the Roman goddesses of prophecy. It is a binary star comprising components of magnitude +3.4 and +3.5, appearing to the naked-eye as a single star of magnitude +2.9. The pair orbit each other in a period of 169 years, their separation varying greatly throughout. They came closest together around 2006, when they were just 0".4 apart, making them difficult to separate in anything but the largest of telescopes. The pair are now widening and are becoming easier to separate in amateur telescopes, being 3".3 apart and aligned North-South in relation to each other. Prior to IAU standardisation Porrima was also known as Arich, a name whose origin appears to be shrouded in mystery.

On September 14th Venus passes 1.3 South of the double star Greek lower-case letter 'theta' Vir (Theta Virginis, mag. +4.4), located at the base of the Maiden's neck, which the planet will occult in November 2044.

Three days later (17th) the planet passes 2.6 North of the constellation's brightest star Spica (Greek lower-case letter 'alpha' Vir or Alpha Virginis, mag. +1.0), a blue-white star which dominates the South-eastern region of the constellation. The name is Latin for 'ear of wheat', since the Maiden was imagined to be holding an ear of wheat in her left hand and a palm leaf in her right. Virgo's association with the harvest is an ancient one, the Greeks having previously named the star Stachys ('ear of wheat') and the Arabs Sunbala ('sheaf of wheat').

Venus crosses the ecliptic heading Southwards on September 25th. On September 27th the planet passes 3.2 South of the star Kang (Greek lower-case letter 'kappa' Vir or Kappa Virginis, mag. +4.2). In Chinese astronomy Kang was both a constellation and a name given to the second of 28 lunar mansions. The star was formally named as such by the IAU's Working Group on Star Names in 2017. It is one of numerous stars which have been given 'new' names by the organisation since 2015; throughout this article their names are shown in yellow-green type.

At around 07 hours UT on September 29th Venus passes 42' (0.7) South of the star Khambalia (Greek lower-case letter 'lambda' Vir or Lamba Virginis, mag. 4.5), which is positioned only 39' (0.65) from the border with Libra, the Balance or Scales. It is a Coptic name meaning 'crooked-clawed'. Thirteen hours later the planet enters Libra itself.

By late September Venus' solar elongation has extended to over 30 and its apparent size has increased slightly to 12"; the apparent disk size will continue to increase as the apparition progresses. Telescopes show a notably gibbous phase a little under 90% illuminated.

2 0 2 4  October

At midnight UT on October 6th, Venus passes 53' (0.88) South of Libra's second-brightest star, the double star Zubenelgenubi (Greek lower-case letter 'alpha'2 Lib or Alpha2 Librae, mag. +2.8), which is positioned at the Western end of the constellation's four-sided figure. Two days later (8th) the planet passes 7.3 North of the star Brachium (Greek lower-case letter 'sigma' Lib or Sigma Librae, mag. +3.3), also formerly known as Zuben Algubi, which is at the Southernmost point of the figure. On October 11th the planet passes 9.5 South of Zubeneschamali (Greek lower-case letter 'beta' Lib or Beta Librae, mag. +2.5), the Northernmost star of the figure.

Venus passes 5.4 to the South of Zubenelhakrabi (Greek lower-case letter 'gamma' Lib or Gamma Librae, mag. +4.0) on October 15th. An Arabic name meaning 'the claws of the Scorpion', it is the Easternmost star of the Libra figure. In 2018 an exoplanet was detected orbiting Zubenelhakrabi. It is believed to be a gas giant with a mass equivalent to that of Jupiter, taking 415 days to complete one orbit of the star.

Venus enters Scorpius, the Scorpion, on October 17th, passing 4.4 North of the star Fang (Greek lower-case letter 'pi' Sco or Pi Scorpii, mag. +2.8), located in the head of the Scorpion, on October 19th. The name Fang was formally assigned to the star by the IAU in 2017 after the fourth lunar mansion in ancient Chinese astronomy.

Venus passes 46' (0.76) North of the star Dschubba (Greek lower-case letter 'delta' Sco or Delta Scorpii, mag. +2.2), marking the forehead of the Scorpion, at 02 hours UT on October 20th. The planet passes 2.3 South of the double-star Acrab (Greek lower-case letter 'beta'1 Sco or Beta-1 Scorpii, combined mag. +2.6), formerly known as Graffias, on October 21st. Its two blue-white components (Greek lower-case letter 'beta'1 Sco and Greek lower-case letter 'beta'2 Sco) are magnitudes +2.6 and +4.9, separated by 13".7 and are easily seen in small telescopes. Beta-1 Scorpii is itself also double, having a tenth-magnitude companion positioned less than an arcsecond away, separable only in larger telescopes. Between 08 hours and 12 hours UT on the same day, Venus passes about 1.5 South the two Omegan stars Jabhat al Akrab (Greek lower-case letter 'omega'1 Sco or Omega-1 Scorpii, mag. +3.9) and Omega-2 Scorpii (Greek lower-case letter 'omega'2 Sco, mag. +4.3), taking just 1 hours to traverse the longitudinal distance between them. Together with Dschubba, Acrab and the star Jabbah (Greek lower-case letter 'nu' Sco or Nu Scorpii, mag. +4.0) to their North-east, the five stars form a distinctive asterism in Northern Scorpius. Jabbah is a quadruple star, meaning that it appears as a double-star through small telescopes, but larger telescopes reveal each of its component stars to be double. Venus passes 3.0 South of Jabbah on October 22nd.

At 09 hours UT on October 23rd, Venus passes just 14' (0.24) North of the globular cluster Messier 80 (or NGC 6093), which has an integrated magnitude of +7.3. Like most of the brighter globulars, it appears as a faint, circular, fuzzy spot of light through binoculars under dark skies. The narrow separation means that the two objects can be contained within the eyepiece view of a wide-field, low-magnification ocular, whilst binocular users see the planet and cluster appear in very close proximity. The very large magnitude difference between the two objects, however, means that the pairing is difficult to view because of the glare produced by Venus.

Star map of Scorpius, showing the five stars formally assigned new names by the IAU in 2017 and 2018 (click for full-size image)

Six stars in Scorpius were formally assigned 'new' names by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2017 and 2018. In this map of the constellation (and in the accompanying text) they are shown in yellow-green (click on the thumbnail for a larger version).

From around the third week of October Mercury (mag. -0.3) emerges into the dusk sky for its third and final evening apparition of 2024. Due to the high inclination of the ecliptic to the Western horizon after sunset in the Southern hemisphere at this time of year, this is another apparition which favours observers here. As it emerges Mercury is in central Libra, pulling away from the Sun at a rate of 0.5 per day and approaching Venus at about 0.3 per day. At midnight UT, Mercury is positioned 21.6 WNW of Venus on the 24th and 21.4 WNW of Venus on the 25th. During this particular paired apparition the two planets will not reach conjunction.

Now approaching the Eastern border of Scorpius, Venus passes 2.6 North of the variable star Alniyat (Greek lower-case letter 'sigma' Sco or Sigma Scorpii, mag. +2.9v) on October 24th. Venus exits Chart 1 coverage on October 25th, the planet entering Ophiuchus, the Serpent-Bearer, at 15 hours UT on the same day. Thirty minutes later the planet passes 3.5 North of the globular cluster M4 (NGC 6121), a 6th-magnitude cluster located across the border to the South in Scorpius. M4 is visible through binoculars under truly dark skies. Being so close to Scorpius' brightest star Antares (Greek lower-case letter 'alpha' Sco or Alpha Scorpii, mag. +1.3), it is easy to find and, at 20' in diameter, it is wonderfully resolved through telescopes. It is not a particularly concentrated cluster but has an eye-catching central 'bar' of faint stars running vertically through its centre.

Also on October 25th, Venus passes 3.1 North of Antares at 19 hours UT. The star shines with an unmistakable orange-red hue since it is a red supergiant, rivalling the colour of the planet Mars, after which the star is named. It is estimated to measure at least 400 times the diameter of our Sun. It is also a variable star, fluctuating between magnitudes +0.6 to +1.6 over a 5-year period.

Over the next fortnight Venus passes several stars which have been assigned 'new' names by the IAU in recent years. On October 27th the planet passes 4.6 North of the star Paikauhale (Greek lower-case letter 'tau' Sco or Tau Scorpii, mag. +2.8), which is positioned a short distance South-east of Antares; the name is Hawaii'an for a vagabond.

On October 29th Venus passes 10.2 North of Larawag (Greek lower-case letter 'epsilon' Sco or Epsilon Scorpii, mag. +2.2), positioned about half-way along the Scorpion's tail. It is an Aboriginal name taken from the Wardaman culture of Northern Australia.

On October 30th Venus passes through the aphelion point in its orbit (its most distant point from the Sun), at a solar distance of 0.7282 AU (108.9 million kms or 67.7 million statute miles).

Also on October 30th, the planet passes 13.9 North of the stars Xamidimura (Greek lower-case letter 'mu'1 Sco or Mu-1 Scorpii, mag. +2.9) and Pipirima (Greek lower-case letter 'mu'2 Sco or Mu-2 Scorpii, mag. +3.5), which are located 3.5 South of Larawag. The two stars are separated in the night sky by just 5'.7 (0.1), making them appear as a double star, however this is a line-of-sight effect and they are not physically related. Xamidimura is an eclipsing binary of the Beta Lyrae variable star type whilst Pipirima is a blue-white subgiant star. Xamidimura is the historical name given to the star by the Khoikhoi people of South Africa; it means 'eyes of the lion'. The name Pipirima comes from Polynesian mythology. It refers to a Tahitian story of two inseparable twins (Pipirima and Rhua) who fled from their parents and became stars in the night sky. In 2022 an exoplanet was confirmed as orbiting Pipirima; considered to be a gas giant, its mass is equivalent to that of 14 Jupiters, taking 1,252 years to orbit Pipirima at a distance of 242 AU.

2 0 2 4  November

On November 1st Venus passes 1.7 North of the seventh-magnitude globular cluster M19 (NGC 6273). At 12' (0.2) in diameter, it is a roughly oval-shaped 'fuzzball' of stars which can easily be seen through binoculars and small telescopes under fully dark skies. The planet passes 9.0 South of Sabik (Greek lower-case letter 'eta' Oph or Eta Ophiuchi, mag. +2.5), the second brightest star in Ophiuchus, on November 2nd. Also on the 2nd, Mercury (mag. -0.2) enters Scorpius, positioned 19.3 to the WNW of Venus. For a few days on and after the 2nd, the waxing crescent Moon passes to the South of both planets. Mercury will continue to close the gap between it and Venus through to mid-month, the planet maintaining the same magnitude throughout.

After a nine-day 'gap' in star chart coverage, Venus enters Chart 2 on November 3rd.

Positioned 2.8 East of M19 is the fifth-magnitude star Guniibuu (36 Oph A or 36 Ophiuchi A, mag. +5.1), one of a pair of orange dwarf stars (A and B) which are easily split in small telescopes. Assigned the name by the IAU in 2018, it refers to a mythological robin red-breast in Australian Aboriginal culture. Venus passes 1.7 North of the star on November 3rd. The planet occulted Guniibuu in October 2021, blocking the star from view for up to nine minutes. The event took place in darkness, though it was only viewable from the unpopulated Southern Ocean.

At 2043 UT on November 4th Venus passes only 4'.7 (0.08) South of Ophiuchus' eighth-brightest star Theta Ophiuchi (Greek lower-case letter 'theta' Oph, mag. +3.2), the brightest star in this Southern section of the constellation.

Up until this time, observers situated at higher Northern latitudes have been having much difficulty observing Venus due to its low altitude after sunset and the long summer twilight. Here, the planet has been setting in twilight since the start of the apparition several months ago - even in early November, Venus is setting just 1 hour after sunset at latitude 60 North. Circumstances here are soon about to change, however, as the local dusk twilight recedes and the planet begins to increase in altitude at any given time after sunset. Elsewhere, the planet is setting 1 hours after sunset (at mid-Northern latitudes), 2 hours after sunset (at Northern Tropical latitudes), 2 hours after sunset (at Equatorial and Southern Tropical latitudes) and 3 hours after sunset (mid-Southern latitudes).

Gibbous Venus imaged by Dmitry W. von Aichegg in April 2023 (Image: Dmitry W. von Aichegg/ALPO-Japan)

Gibbous Venus imaged by Dmitry W. von Aichegg (Domodedovo, Moscow, Russia) in April 2023. Aichegg used a 10-inch (254 mm) apochromatic refractor telescope fitted with a CMOS camera

(Image: Dmitry W. von Aichegg  / ALPO-Japan)

The rate at which Venus gains altitude (in relation to the local horizon at a given period after sunset) over the coming months is relatively fast in the Southern hemisphere but more gradual in the Northern hemisphere, the rate of increase being lesser as one moves further Northwards in latitude. At mid-Southern latitudes Venus' altitude at any given interval after sunset has been increasing at a rate of about 0.25 per day since the start of the apparition in early July. By contrast, at mid-Northern latitudes the rate of increase has been only half this amount since the start of the apparition in late July. During the 2024-25 evening apparition it is the Southern hemisphere which first sees Venus attain its highest point in the sky after sunset (in local late Spring), the Northern hemisphere witnessing this about a month or two later (in local early Winter). Details of the planet's direction and altitude at 30 minutes after sunset for various latitudes are listed in the table below and they are also shown in the form of a horizon diagram.

Since the start of the apparition, observers at most latitudes have seen Venus drifting slowly Southwards along the horizon at any given interval after sunset. At mid-Southern latitudes in early November, the planet's Southward motion ceases, Venus appearing to 'pause' towards the WSW for several days. Hereafter, the planet will head Northwards along the horizon, its peak altitude being reached in early December (see horizon diagram for 30 South below).

Venus enters Sagittarius, the Archer, on November 8th. On November 10th the planet passes 11.6 North of the star Fuyue (G Scorpii, mag. +3.2), which is positioned at the tail-end of the Scorpion. Fu Yue was a Chinese labourer who became a wise minister and a chancellor of the Emperor Wu Ding (ca. 1250-1192 BC) of the Shang dynasty. After Fu Yue's death he is said to have become part of a constellation known as The Sieve, situated in the Tail mansion (Wei Xi) in ancient Chinese astronomy.

Venus' solar elongation reaches 40 East on November 11th, the planet attaining its closest angular distance with Mercury for this apparition (18.2) on the 13th. Venus has become an interesting telescopic object, with an apparent diameter of 15" and showing a gibbous 74% illuminated phase. Its magnitude has brightened a fraction to -4.0.

From November 12th-13th, the planet passes 1.2 South of the sixth-magnitude gaseous nebula labelled M8 (NGC 6523) and commonly called the Lagoon Nebula. With an apparent dimension of 90' by 40', the nebula is visible to the naked-eye from dark sites and is a spectacular sight through larger telescopes - particularly those fitted with nebular filters. Venus takes 17 hours to traverse the apparent width of the nebula (from 11 hours UT on the 12th to 04 hours UT on the 13th).

Positioned a short distance to the NNW of the Lagoon Nebula is another gaseous nebula called the Trifid Nebula (M20 or NGC 6514). Its brightest region is roughly elliptical in shape and measures 29' by 27'. Seen through telescopes under dark skies, three dark dust lanes can be seen, from which the nebula gets its name. At the centre of the nebula is a double star comprising components of 7th and 8th magnitude. Venus passes 2.6 South of the Trifid Nebula between 12 hours UT and 16 hours UT on November 12th.

Over the next few weeks Venus passes the numerous bright stars which define the shape of Sagittarius' Archer figure, along with six globular clusters, which are particularly numerous in this region of the night sky. From November 13th-24th the planet passes just to the North of the constellation's famous asterism, the Teapot. Seen in a North-up orientation, the teapot appears 'tipped up', pouring its contents South-westwards into neighbouring Scorpius. It is bounded by eight stars which, taken counter-clockwise, are: Al Nasl, Kaus Media, Kaus Borealis, Phi Sagittarii, Nunki, Tau Sagittarii, Ascella and Kaus Australis. Venus' path on this occasion just clips the top of the teapot.

On November 13th Venus passes 4.8 North of Al Nasl (Greek lower-case letter 'gamma' Sgr or Gamma Sagittarii, mag. +3.0), which is positioned at the front of the Archer's bow; the name is Arabic for 'point of the arrow'. Before IAU standardisation the star was commonly known as Nash. At around 17 hours UT on the same day the planet passes between two 8th-magnitude globular clusters, NGC 6544 (apparent diameter 8'.9) and NGC 6553 (8'.1). The clusters are separated in the night sky by 1 in a NNW-SSE orientation; both are only seen well in larger telescopes. The planet passes closer to NGC 6553 (the Southernmost of the two) by a distance ratio of about 2:1.

Star chart showing the paths of Venus, Mercury, Saturn and Neptune through the zodiac constellations for the later part of Venus' evening apparition in 2024-25 (Copyright Martin J Powell 2024)

The paths of Venus, Mercury and Saturn through the zodiac constellations during the latter part of Venus' evening apparition in 2024-25 (click on the thumbnail for the full-size image). The earlier part of the planet's apparition appears in the star chart above. Positions of Venus and Mercury are plotted for 0 hrs Universal Time (UT) at 5-day intervals, while Saturn's position is plotted on the 1st day of each month. The path of Neptune is also shown for reference. A Southern hemisphere view can be seen here.

For Mercury, the morning apparition of January 2025 and the evening apparition of March 2025 are shown. Wherever a planet is too close to the Sun to view, the path is shown by a dashed line (- -). Hence Mercury's morning apparition draws to a close in mid-January 2025. It then becomes lost from view in the dawn twilight as it heads towards superior conjunction with the Sun. The planet re-emerges in the dusk twilight in late February 2025 for an evening apparition which lasts into mid-March. Because Mercury is mostly seen in twilight, many of the fainter stars shown in the planet's vicinity may not be visible when the planet itself is observed.

For Venus, apparition data for the dates shown in bright white (at 10-day intervals) are included in the table above. The positions at which Mercury and Venus attain greatest elongation from the Sun are indicated by the letters 'GE', with the solar elongation angle in brackets; it is Eastern (E) in the evening and Western (W) in the morning (the elongation of Venus is Easterly throughout the chart coverage). The position at which Venus attains greatest brilliancy for this apparition (apparent magnitude = -4.6) is shown by the letters 'GB'. Note that Mercury's evening apparition of late February to mid-March 2025 favours Northern hemisphere observers whilst its morning apparition of mid-December 2024 to mid-January 2025 - only the latter part of which appears on the star map - favours neither hemisphere.

The faintest stars shown on the chart have an apparent magnitude of about +4.8. Printer-friendly versions of this chart are available for Northern and Southern hemisphere views. Astronomical co-ordinates of Right Ascension (longitude, measured Eastwards in hrs:mins) and Declination (latitude, measured in degrees North or South of the celestial equator) are marked around the border of the chart.

Click here to see a star map of the area without planet paths; a printable version can be found here.

Three planetary conjunctions involving Venus take place during the period of the star chart coverage; these are indicated by the symbol Conjunction symbol. For more details see the planetary conjunctions section below.

The two star names shown in yellow-green were formally recognised by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2018.

At around 04 hours UT on November 14th Venus attains its most Southerly point in the zodiac for the 2024-25 apparition, at a declination of -25 37' 40" (-25.63 in decimal form), positioned just North of the Archer's arrow. This is the most Southerly declination that the planet will attain before November 2029. From all Earthly latitudes outside of the polar regions, Venus now sets at its most Southerly point along the local horizon.

Around mid-November, observers at mid-Southern latitudes see Venus at its highest altitude after sunset for the 2024-25 evening apparition. Thirty minutes after sundown, the planet is positioned 28 above the Western horizon, being visible for a further 2 hours before setting.

At Equatorial latitudes, Venus' daily Southward motion along the horizon ceases in mid-November. At 30 minutes after sunset, Venus appears to 'pause' in the WSW for several days. The planet heads Northwards along the horizon hereafter, reaching peak altitude in late December/early January. When the path of Venus in the evening sky is plotted for each day of the 2024-25 apparition at 30 minutes after sunset (see horizon diagrams below), the resulting profile at latitudes North of about 10 South are seen to have a broader and flatter peak. Hence during the 2024-25 evening apparition, Northern latitudes see the planet higher in the sky for a longer period (ca. 1-2 months) than in the Southern hemisphere (ca. 2 weeks).

On November 16th Venus passes 4.2 North of the star Kaus Media (Greek lower-case letter 'delta' Sgr or Delta Sagittarii, mag. +2.7), positioned at the centre of the Archer's bow. Before IAU standardisation it was also known by the names Kaus Meridionalis and Kaus Medius. At 17 hours UT on the same day the planet passes 44' (0.73) South of the 7th-magnitude globular cluster M28 (NGC 6626), which has an apparent diameter of 11'.2. At 0835 UT on November 17th the planet passes just 9'.5 (0.16) South of the orange star Kaus Borealis (Greek lower-case letter 'lambda' Sgr or Lambda Sagittarii, mag. +2.8) which marks the top of the Archer's bow (and the top of the Teapot asterism). At 2209 UT on the same day Venus passes only 3'.7 (0.06) South of the faint 9th-magnitude globular cluster NGC 6638 - a distance which is equivalent to 14 apparent Venus diameters. NGC 6638 is a difficult and concentrated globular, 5' in diameter, which is only well resolved in larger optical instruments. At 23 hours UT on November 18th the planet passes 1.6 South of the much brighter globular cluster M22 (NGC 6656) which is considered to be one of the finest globulars in the night sky. Its integrated magnitude is about +5.9 and it has an apparent diameter of 24'. It is just visible to the naked-eye from dark sites, is easily seen through binoculars and is a spectacular sight through telescopes.

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Mercury, now in Southern Ophiuchus and shining at magnitude -0.2, reaches greatest elongation (22.5 East of the Sun) on November 16th, positioned 18.5 to the West of Venus. From around November 17th Mercury's Eastward motion against the background stars begins to slow, causing Venus to pull further away from it over the coming days. At midnight UT, Mercury is positioned 18.7 West of Venus on the 17th and 19.2 West of Venus on the 19th.

The four stars which Venus passes over the next five days form the 'handle' of the Teapot. The planet passes 1.6 North of Phi Sagittarii (Greek lower-case letter 'phi' Sgr, mag. +3.1) on November 20th; 1.1 North of the constellation's second-brightest star Nunki (Greek lower-case letter 'sigma' Sgr or Sigma Sagittarii, mag. +2.0) on November 22nd; 4.8 North of Ascella (Greek lower-case letter 'zeta' Sgr or Zeta Sagittarii, mag. +2.6) on November 24th and finally, 2.7 North of Tau Sagittarii (Greek lower-case letter 'tau' Sgr, mag. +3.3), also on the 24th. On the following day (25th) Venus passes 3.8 South of the star Albaldah (Greek lower-case letter 'pi' Sgr or Pi Sagittarii, mag. +2.9), positioned at the top of the Archer's head, which Venus will occult during its morning apparition in 2035.

Mercury (mag. -0.0) is positioned 20.2 to the West of Venus on November 21st and 21.4 to the West of it on the 23rd. Mercury's motion against the background stars ceases on November 26th when it reaches its Eastern stationary point, 24.7 to the West of Venus. In the final few days of November Mercury becomes lost from view in the dusk solar glare.

On November 27th at around 0640 UT, Venus is positioned at precisely 1.0000 AU from the Earth, i.e. the same distance as the average distance of the Earth from the Sun (149.5 million kms or 92.9 million statute miles). At this point in the apparition the distance between Venus and the Earth is reducing at an average rate of about 1.035 million kms (643,000 statute miles) per day.

At 0944 UT on November 28th Venus passes a mere 3' (0.05) South of the star Greek lower-case letter 'chi'1 Sgr (Chi-1 Sagittarii, mag. +5.0) which the planet will occult during its evening apparition two 'Venus-cycles' hence, in 2040. At 1440 UT that same day the planet passes 2.6 South of 50 Sagittarii (50 Sgr, mag. +5.6), another star which the planet will occult at a future date, in this case in 2048.

Now clear of the brighter stars of the Archer, Venus heads into the fainter Eastern half of the constellation, passing 50' (0.83) North of the star 52 Sagittarii (mag. +4.6) at 16 hours UT on November 30th.

2 0 2 4  December

On December 1st Venus reaches its most Southerly ecliptic latitude of the apparition (-2.4) in Eastern Sagittarius. This should not be confused with the most Southerly declination which the planet attained two weeks earlier. Ecliptic latitude (symbol Greek lower-case letter 'beta') is measured in relation to the ecliptic plane (the apparent path of the Sun through the zodiac, which is also the plane of the Earth's orbit in space). The ecliptic itself has a latitude of 0 (Greek lower-case letter 'beta' = 0); latitudes to the North of it are measured positive (+) and those to the South of it are measured negative (-). Declination, on the other hand, is measured in relation to the celestial equator, which is the 0 latitude of Earth projected from the Earth's centre into space; declinations are likewise measured positive and negative in relation to it. The two planes (ecliptical and equatorial) are inclined at 23.4 to each other, caused by the tilt of the Earth's axis in space.

On December 4th Venus passes 3.1 North of the star Terebellum (Greek lower-case letter 'omega' Sgr or Omega Sagittarii, mag. +4.7), a Latin name which derives from an original Greek word meaning 'quadrilateral'. Terebellum is one of a group of four moderately-bright stars positioned within 2 of each other in the 'rump' of the Archer figure. They were named as such by Claudius Ptolemy (ca. 100-170 AD) in his famous star catalogue, the Almagest.

At 13 hours UT on December 6th Venus passes 49' (0.81) South of M75 (NGC 6864), a distant and compact 8th-magnitude cluster. It has an apparent diameter of only 6' and lies just 0.3 from the Eastern border of Sagittarius.

At any given interval after sunset, observers at mid-Northern latitudes have seen Venus head Southwards along the horizon at a rate of about 0.5 per day since mid-July. In early December, observers at these latitudes see Venus' Southward motion along the horizon cease in the South-west for several days, its rate of increase in altitude peaking at 0.2 per day at this point. The planet heads Northwards along the horizon hereafter, continuing through to the end of the apparition (see horizon diagram for 35 North below).

Whilst the visibility of Venus is improving in the Northern hemisphere, the situation is beginning to worsen in the Southern hemisphere. At mid-Southern latitudes, Venus' altitude above the local horizon at a given time after sunset begins to fall away with each passing day, the planet having spent only around a fortnight at its highest altitude.

Venus enters Capricornus, the Sea-Goat, on December 6th. On December 8th the planet passes 9.5 South of  Greek lower-case letter 'alpha'1 Cap (Alpha-1 Capricorni, mag. +4.2) and, soon afterwards, Algedi (Greek lower-case letter 'alpha'2 Cap or Alpha-2 Capricorni, mag. +3.6). Prior to IAU standardisation in 2016 the former was known as Prima Giedi and the latter was known as Secunda Giedi. The pair are separated in the night sky by 6'.4 (0.1) and are an easy optical double, meaning that they appear to the naked-eye as a double star but they are not physically related (in this case being 700 light years and 108 light years distant, respectively). Through a telescope, the pair are both seen to be double, Greek lower-case letter 'alpha'1 Cap having a 9th-magnitude companion (also an optical double) and Algedi having a genuine binary companion of 11th-magnitude. Larger telescopes reveal that this 11th-magnitude star is itself double.

From early to mid-December, observers at Southern Tropical latitudes see Venus at its best post-sunset altitude for the 2024-25 evening apparition. At one half-hour after sundown, the planet is positioned 33 above the WSW horizon (a third of the way 'up the sky') at latitude 25 South and 36 above the Western horizon at 15 South, in both cases setting a little over 3 hours after the Sun.

On December 9th Venus passes 7.1 South of the star Dabih (Greek lower-case letter 'beta' Cap or Beta Capricorni, mag. +3.0), which is positioned to the SSE of Algedi. It is a yellow star with a blue companion of magnitude +6.1, positioned 3'.5 to the West, visible in binoculars and small telescopes. On December 19th the planet passes 1.5 South of the star Theta Capricorni (Greek lower-case letter 'theta' Cap, mag. +4.0), positioned in the centre of the constellation. At 23 hours UT on December 22nd the planet passes 35' (0.58) South of the star Iota Capricorni (Greek lower-case letter 'iota' Cap, mag. +4.3), positioned at the 'rump' of the Sea-Goat figure.

In mid-December, observers at higher Northern latitudes see Venus' Southward motion along the horizon at a given period after sunset cease in the South or SSW for several days, its motion in azimuth now having fully transformed into a motion in altitude (see horizon diagram for 55 North below). The rate of increase in altitude peaks at 0.4 per day at this point. Just like at the other latitudes, Venus will head Northwards along the horizon hereafter but it will also cover a much greater span in azimuth through to the end of the apparition (ca. 93 over the course of 3 months, or about 0.9 per day). The planet's peak altitude will be reached in mid-February 2025 - considerably later than at all latitudes further South.

Several degrees to the North of Venus during the latter half of December is the Western half of the constellation of Aquarius, the Water-Bearer (also known as the Water-Carrier or Waterman). Its brightest star is Sadalsuud (Greek lower-case letter 'beta' Aqr or Beta Aquarii, mag. +2.9), a name which is Arabic for 'the lucky one of the lucky', its meaning having astrological origins. Some 2.7 to the South-east of Sadalsuud is the binary star Bunda (Greek lower-case letter 'xi' Aqr or Xi Aquarii, mag. +4.7), a name formally assigned by the IAU in 2018 after a Persian lunar mansion. Venus passes 11.0 South of Sadalsuud on December 25th and 8.1 South of Bunda on December 26th.

At 03 hours UT on December 27th Venus passes 53' (0.88) North of the star Nashira (Greek lower-case letter 'gamma' Cap or Gamma Capricorni, mag. +3.7) which, like Sadalsuud in neighbouring Aquarius, the Arabs similarly named 'the fortunate one'. Finally, on December 28th Venus passes 1.0 North of the constellation's brightest star, the variable star Deneb Algedi (Greek lower-case letter 'delta' Cap or Delta Capricorni, mag. +2.9v), sometimes previously known as Deneb Al Giedi ('tail of the goat').

In late December Equatorial latitudes see Venus attain its best altitude after sunset for the 2024-25 apparition. Here the planet stands 38 above the WSW horizon at 30 minutes after sunset, remaining visible for 2 hours thereafter. From these latitudes twilight is brief throughout the year, so the planet is mostly seen in its true brilliant splendor against a fully dark sky.

The year 2024 ends with Venus entering Aquarius on December 31st.

2 0 2 5  January

At 08 hours UT on January 2nd Venus passes 12.7 North of Sadalmelik (Greek lower-case letter 'alpha' Aqr or Alpha Aquarii, mag. +2.9), another star considered 'lucky' by the Arabs and whose magnitude is only fractionally dimmer than that of Sadalsuud. At 13 hours UT on the same day the planet passes 51' (0.85) North of the star Greek lower-case letter 'iota' Aqr (Iota Aquarii, mag. +4.2).

The planet Saturn, currently in Eastern Aquarius, is situated to the ENE of Venus through most of the first half of January. The ringed planet, which has been occupying the constellation since February of 2023, is shining at a relatively dim magnitude of +1.0, partly because of its long distance from Earth but also because its rings are currently presenting a shallow angle to our line-of-sight (they will appear edgewise-on to us in March, by which time the planet will have moved into the morning sky). In the first couple of weeks of January Venus approaches Saturn at a rate of 0.95 per day. Taken at midnight UT, Saturn is positioned 14.8 to the ENE of Venus on January 3rd, 9.1 to the ENE of it on the 9th and 3.9 to the East of it on the 15th.

On January 4th at around 22 hours UT, the distance between the Earth and Venus is the same as that between the Sun and Venus, at 0.7219 AU (107.9 million kms or 67.1 million miles). Seen from a point far above the Earth's North pole, the Earth, Venus and the Sun would now form an isoscelene triangle in space, with Venus positioned at the apex.

Venus passes 4.0 South of the star Ancha (Greek lower-case letter 'theta' Aqr or Theta Aquarii, mag. +4.1), positioned at the elbow of the Water-Carrier, on January 5th.

Venus in the evening sky over Brzezno, Poland, sketched by Krzysztof Rajda in January 2009 (Image: Krzysztof Rajda/ASOD)

Venus in the Evening Sky over Brzezno, Poland on January 9th 2009, in an atmospheric sketch drawn by Krzysztof Rajda during the planet's 2008-09 evening apparition (two 'Venus cycles' prior to the 2024-25 apparition). Venus was five days away from greatest elongation and shone at magnitude -4.3. Venus will return to the same approximate position in the sky (central Aquarius) on the same calendar date in 2025. For a full-size picture and description visit the Astronomy Sketch of the Day website (Image: Krzysztof Rajda / ASOD).

 

Between January 6th and 10th Venus is positioned about 10 South of the Water-Bearer's most recognisable feature: an asterism of four stars informally known as the Steering Wheel, centred on Greek lower-case letter 'zeta' Aqr (Zeta Aquarii, mag. +3.6). On some modern star maps this asterism is seen to depict the head of the Water-Bearer figure; such maps are based on the constellations envisaged in the 1950s by the author and illustrator H. A. Rey (1898-1977). On older star maps, such as the Uranographia published in 1801 by Johann Elert Bode (1747-1826), these stars marked the amphora from which the water was poured. Venus passes 9.8 South of the Steering Wheel's Westernmost star Sadachbia (Greek lower-case letter 'gamma' Aqr or Gamma Aquarii, mag. +3.9) at 11 hours UT on the 6th.

At around 06 hours UT on January 8th Venus passes 10.2 South of the double star Greek lower-case letter 'zeta'1 Aqr (Zeta-1 Aquarii, mag. +3.7), located at the centre of the Steering Wheel. At 1850 UT on the same day the planet passes 28' (0.46) North of another double star, Greek lower-case letter 'sigma' Aqr (Sigma Aquarii, mag. +4.8), which is positioned more or less at the centre of Aquarius. The planet will occult this star in the year 2048.

At 0342 UT on January 10th Venus reaches its greatest elongation from the Sun for this apparition (47.16 East), positioned some 5.0 ESE of Ancha and 9.6 SSE of the Steering Wheel's centre. At this point, telescopes show Venus' disk half-illuminated (phase = 0.50 or 50%) with an apparent diameter of 24".1 and shining at magnitude -4.5. Although the greatest elongation from the Sun takes place on January 10th, Venus is in fact positioned at 47.1 elongation for an eleven-day period from January 5th through to the 15th. Seen from a point far above the Earth's North pole, the Earth, Venus and the Sun now form a right-angled triangle in space, with Venus positioned at the 90 angle.

Venus at half-phase imaged by Tiziano Olivetti in May 2023 (Image: Tiziano Olivetti/ALPO-Japan)

Venus at Dichotomy in the evening sky, imaged in visible light by Tiziano Olivetti (Bangkok, Thailand) in May 2023. Olivetti used a 20-inch (505 mm) Dall-Kirkham reflector telescope fitted with a CMOS camera (Image: Tiziano Olivetti / ALPO-Japan)

For observers in Northern Tropical latitudes the date of Venus' maximum solar elongation in 2025 is ideal, since it coincides with the period during which the planet attains its highest position above the local horizon after sunset. From these latitudes the planet is positioned 39 above the WSW horizon at 30 minutes after sunset, setting 3 hours after the Sun. In stark contrast, at 30 minutes after sunset Venus appears just 16 above the horizon when seen from latitude 45 South, setting 2 hours after sunset. To view the altitudes and visibility durations of the planet from a range of other latitudes, see the Northern and Southern latitude tables below.

For telescopic observers of Venus, a high placement of the planet in the sky after sunset - whether or not this takes place around greatest elongation day - is of little benefit. Because of the planet's glare when seen against a darkening sky, coupled with the Earth's troublesome atmospheric turbulence at low altitudes, most telescope users observe the planet in full daylight, when it is high above the horizon and more easily seen against a brighter sky. Of course, extreme caution must be taken when attempting to observe any of the planets in daylight and the Sun must be positioned at a safe angular distance from the planet and be fully shielded from view.

For a few days around greatest elongation, telescopic observers often attempt to determine the precise moment when the terminator (the line separating the light and dark sides of the planet) appears perfectly straight, essentially dividing Venus into two perfect halves; it is often referred to as the moment of dichotomy. Solar System geometry suggests that this should occur on greatest elongation day, however observers often report the straight terminator several days earlier or later (early in evening apparitions and late in morning apparitions); hence in this apparition telescopic observers could expect to see a 50% phase on or around January 5th. Known as the phase anomaly or Schrter's Effect (after the German astronomer Johann Schrter, who first observed it in 1793), it is thought to be due to Venus' dense atmosphere scattering sunlight. Blue light scatters more readily than red light (which is why the sky on Earth appears blue) and this effect is also seen on Venus when it is observed using coloured eyepiece filters. The phase anomaly is much more evident when the planet is observed through a blue filter, whilst the anomaly is less evident when seen through filters of other colours, e.g. red or yellow.

With greatest elongation day having passed, Venus' phase changes from gibbous to crescentic, i.e. with a phase of less than 50%. Telescopically the next two months will prove most interesting as the crescent becomes larger and more slender with each passing day as the planet comes closer to the Earth in space.

At 1946 UT on January 14th Venus passes 11' (0.18) North of Greek lower-case letter 'lambda' Aqr (Lambda Aquarii, mag. +3.9), a star which the planet occulted during its 2014 morning apparition.

Venus crosses the ecliptic Northwards on January 16th, passing 23.0 North of the bright star Fomalhaut (Greek lower-case letter 'alpha' PsA or Alpha Piscis Austrini, mag. +1.2) on the same day. Fomalhaut is blue-white in colour and is situated in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus, the Southern Fish. Ancient Greek and Babylonian mythology describes it as being the parent of the much more famous zodiacal Pisces (see below) and it was envisaged as drinking the water poured from the Waterman's amphora. From the mid-Northern hemisphere it shines in splendid isolation, never far from the Southern horizon, being the brightest star for some distance around it.

By January 16th Saturn is positioned only 3.2 to the East of Venus. At midnight UT the ringed planet is 2.6 to the ESE of Venus on the 17th, 2.2 to the South-east of it on the 18th and 2.2 to the SSE of it on the 19th. At 0519 UT on January 20th Venus passes 2.5 to the North of Saturn in the second planetary conjunction of the 2024-25 evening apparition. With a solar elongation of 47 it is the widest angle at which such a conjunction can take place, allowing the event to be viewed with ease from most of the inhabited world. Saturn is now in the final stage of its 2024-25 apparition, its rings now measuring 37" across and its globe being 16" across at its widest. This compares with Venus' apparent diameter of 27".4 at this time. For an assessment of the worldwide visibility of this conjunction see the Planetary Conjunctions section below.

Venus in ultraviolet light imaged by Phillipe Chatelain in June 2023 (Image: Phillipe Chatelain/ALPO-Japan)

Venus in Ultraviolet Light imaged by Phillipe Chatelain (Maurepas, France) in June 2023. Chatelain used a 14-inch (356 mm) Dobsonian reflecting telescope fitted with a CMOS camera and UV filter

(Image: Phillipe Chatelain  / ALPO-Japan)

At 06 hours UT on January 21st Venus passes 1.7 North of  Greek lower-case letter 'phi' Aqr (Phi Aquarii, mag. +4.2). On older star maps it is one of several stars which marked the stream of water which flowed from the Waterman's amphora, although more recent maps have shown it marking the top of his amphora. Phi Aquarii is another star which the planet will occult at a future date - in this case during the course of its 2028 evening apparition. At 1523 UT on the same day the planet passes 40' (0.66) South of the star BSC 8840 or HIP114822 (mag.+5.6). It is a relatively faint star which the planet will occult three 'Venus-cycles' later, in January 2049. At 18 hours UT on the 21st Venus passes 5.0 North of the star Greek lower-case letter 'psi'1 Aqr (Psi-1 Aquarii, mag. +4.2), another star in the Waterman's water stream. In 2003 the star was discovered to have an exoplanet, designated Psi-1 Aquarii b (also 91 Aquarii b and HD 219449 b). Believed to have a mass equivalent to 3.2 times that of Jupiter, it is 144 light years distant and orbits its parent star at a distance of 0.7 AU in a period of 181 days.

Following their conjunction on January 20th, Venus speeds on North-eastwards from Saturn, being positioned 2.9 to the NNE of the ringed planet at midnight UT on the 21st, 3.5 to the NNE of it on the 22nd and 4.2 to the NNE of it on the 23rd. Over the next few weeks Saturn will creep closer towards the Sun, becoming lost from view in the dusk twilight by the end of February.

From January 22nd to 31st, Venus is positioned several degrees South of the Circlet of Pisces, located at the Western end of Pisces, the Fishes. The Circlet comprises six stars of fourth and fifth magnitude, although under light-polluted conditions it is likely that some or all of them will not be seen with the naked-eye (at this time of year the Circlet is difficult or impossible to view South of about latitude 40 South). The planet's passage of the Circlet begins at 03 hours UT on January 22nd when it passes 7.2 South of  Greek lower-case letter 'gamma' Psc (Gamma Piscium, mag. +3.7), at the Western end of the Circlet. In 2021 an exoplanet was confirmed as orbiting around Greek lower-case letter 'gamma' Psc, designated Gamma Piscium b. It is a gas giant 135 light years distant with a mass equivalent to 1.3 Jupiters, taking 1 years to orbit its parent star at a distance of 1.3 AU.

On January 23rd Venus moves into Pisces, the final zodiacal constellation in which the planet is to be seen during the 2024-25 evening apparition. Venus is now pulling away Northwards from the ecliptic, increasing its angular distance from it with each passing day. It is 1 North of the ecliptic on January 26th (ecliptic latitude Greek lower-case letter 'beta' = +1.0), moving Northwards at a rate of about 0.15 in ecliptic latitude per day over the next few weeks. This Northward movement slightly improves the visibility of the planet after sunset from Northern hemisphere latitudes, but it increasingly worsens its visibility from Southern latitudes.

Positioned a short distance away to the South-east of the Circlet is the Vernal Equinox point, where the Sun crosses the celestial equator at the Vernal (Spring) equinox in the Northern hemisphere. It is also the origin point of the Right Ascension system of astronomical longitude (0h 0m 0s). Historically this 'zero point' has also been referred to as the First Point of Aries and it is marked on the star chart by the Aries (Ram) symbol (Symbol of the 'First Point of Aries' or Vernal Equinox). Venus crosses the celestial equator heading Northwards on January 30th, positioned 4.2 to the West of the Vernal Equinox point.

Venus continues its passage of the Circlet during the final few days of January, passing 8.6 South of  Greek lower-case letter 'theta' Psc (Theta Piscium, mag. +4.3), at the top of the Circlet, on January 25th, 5.9 South of  Greek lower-case letter 'iota' Psc (Iota Piscium, mag. +4.1) on the 29th and 1.8 South of  Greek lower-case letter 'lambda' Psc (Lambda Piscium, mag. +4.5) on the 30th.

In late January and into early February, observers at mid-Northern latitudes see Venus at its highest altitude after sunset for the 2024-25 apparition. At 50 North the planet is 32 high in the South-west, setting 4 hours after sunset. At 40 North Venus is positioned a significant 34 high in the WSW, setting 3 hours after the Sun (see direction and altitude table below).

2 0 2 5  February

On February 1st Venus completes its passage of the Circlet of Pisces when it passes 2.7 South of the star 19 Psc or TX Piscium, a red giant variable star with a small irregular brightness variation of between magnitudes +4.8 and +5.2.

On February 3rd Venus passes 3.9 to the North of Neptune, a planet which is currently magnitude +7.9 and only ever visible with optical aid. This relatively wide conjunction is best seen from the Northern hemisphere; see the planetary conjunctions section below for more observational details. Neptune entered Pisces for the long-term in December 2023, having previously been situated in Aquarius for over 12 years. The planet reached its peak brightness - only 0.1 magnitudes brighter - in the previous September but will become unobservable in the solar glare by the end of February.

In early February observers at high-Northern latitudes finally get their opportunity to see Venus at its highest altitude after sunset. At latitude 60 North some 30 minutes after sunset, the planet is positioned 29 above the South-western horizon, being visible for a remarkable 5 hours after sunset. Meanwhile, observers at mid-Southern latitudes begin to have some difficulty viewing Venus as it sinks into the dusk twilight, setting only an hour or so after the Sun. Here Venus' altitude above the Western horizon at a given period after sunset has been falling steadily since early December but it drops away rapidly after mid-February, the planet falling vertically at a rate of about 0.5 per day for several days.

By the time Venus passes 3.8 South of the star Greek lower-case letter 'omega' Psc (Omega Piscium, mag. +4.0), located a short distance East of the Southern Fish's head, on February 6th, it has moved almost 3 North of the ecliptic (Greek lower-case letter 'beta' = +3.0) and by mid-February it is 4 North of it.

A crescent Venus sketched by Paul G Abel in July 2023 (Image: Paul G Abel/ALPO-Japan)

A Crescent Venus sketched in daylight in July 2023 by Paul G Abel (Leicester, UK). Venus was 18% illuminated and almost 44" across. Abel observed the planet using an 8-inch (203 mm) Newtonian reflector telescope at 100x magnification (Image: Paul G Abel / ALPO-Japan)

Venus attains its greatest brilliancy for this apparition (mag. -4.6) on February 15th. This occurs when its illuminated phase and its angular size combine to best visual effect. For the 2024-25 apparition, this takes place when the planet is 27% illuminated (phase = 0.27), its angular diameter is 39".2 and its solar elongation is 40. Venus' daily North-eastward motion against the background stars is now slowing; on greatest elongation day on January 10th the planet was moving at a rate of about 1 per day, but it is now moving at about half of that rate. By late February Venus' direction of motion has become North-north-eastwards, its declination changing at a rate of ca. 0.2 per day.

As the Venusian crescent continues to enlarge it also becomes more slender, so that the dark (night side) side of the planet is well-displayed when seen from the Earth. With the aid of ultraviolet and infrared filters, telescopic observers now begin their search for the mysterious and elusive Ashen Light, a faint glowing of the night side of Venus which until recently had no clear explanation. The Ashen Light is now believed to be caused by the planet's surface glowing red hot due to its extremely high surface temperature. Experienced observers suggest that the best time to search for the Light is when the planet's phase lies between 30% and 15%; in the case of the 2024-25 evening apparition, this takes place in the second half of February. Lesser phases are even better, though under these circumstances the planet's low altitude results in shorter observation times and poor quality seeing conditions.

Venus crosses the perihelion point in its orbit - when it is closest to the Sun - on February 19th, at a solar distance of 0.7184 AU (107.4 million kms or 66.8 million statute miles). This is the planet's second perihelion crossing of the apparition, taking place 225 days (one Venus orbital period) after the first, back in July 2024.

Around February 20th, observers at low-Southern latitudes see Venus return to the same relative spot above the local horizon that it had been positioned back in mid-August of 2024 (11 high in the WNW at 30 minutes after sunset), the planet having appeared to loop around the Western cardinal point over the course of the last seven months (see horizon diagram for 30 South below).

By the third week of February, Venus' apparent diameter has swollen to 43" - three times the size it had appeared back in early November of 2024. With an illuminated crescentic phase of around 25% the planet is a beautiful sight when seen through even the smallest of telescopes.

In late February observers at mid-Southern latitudes are the first to bid farewell to Venus as it disappears into the twilight in the WNW dusk sky. The apparition will close over the next few weeks, from Southern latitudes through to Northern.

Venus' Eastward motion ceases on February 28th when it reaches its Eastern stationary point, positioned 6.2 South-east of the star Algenib (Greek lower-case letter 'gamma' Peg or Gamma Pegasi, mag. +2.5) in Pegasus, the Winged Horse and 15 ENE of the Circlet. From here on, Venus begins to move retrograde (East to West) against the background stars and its solar elongation reduces more rapidly with each passing day.

At the end of February Mercury enters the dusk sky at the start of its first evening apparition of 2025, the planet rapidly approaching Venus from the South-west at a rate of 1.6 per day. This particular apparition of Mercury favours Northern hemisphere observers. When it first appears the planet has just passed from Aquarius into Pisces, positioned to the South of the Circlet some 18.9 from Venus and shining at magnitude -1.0. The two planets will experience a wide conjunction in only one week's time.

2 0 2 5  March

Taken at midnight UT, Mercury is positioned 15.9 South-west of Venus on March 1st, 14.4 South-west of Venus on the 2nd and 13.0 South-west of it on the 3rd, the planet brightening by 0.1 magnitudes over the period.

By March 3rd Venus stands 7 North of the ecliptic, and bi-daily observations of Venus become possible by observers at latitudes North of about 40 North. A bi-daily observation is when Venus can be observed at both dawn and dusk on the same day. This can only happen when the planet is sufficiently far North or South of the Sun in the days around inferior conjunction (when it is very close to the Sun and is normally not visible). From higher Northern latitudes, bi-daily observations in the 2024-25 apparition should be possible through to inferior conjunction day itself (March 23rd); a flat, unobstructed horizon is required to observe such events. One must exercise extreme caution when attempting to observe Venus at such a narrow solar elongation. The Sun must be below the horizon when attempting to view the planet in the minutes before sunrise or just after sunset. For more details on bi-daily observations, refer to the relevant section of the Venus Conjunctions page.

Observers at Equatorial and Northerly latitudes see Venus' altitude at a given period after sunset fall away rapidly from early March. At the Equator, the planet's altitude in relation to the local horizon is in a vertical drop by mid-March, falling from 10 high at 30 minutes after sunset on March 6th to just 4 high on March 11th - a fall of 1.2 per day (see horizon diagram for the Equator below). Here, on March 8th, Venus returns to the same relative spot above the local horizon that it was back in early August of 2024 (8 high in the WNW at 30 minutes after sunset). Mid-Northern latitudes see a steep drop after the first week of March, the planet falling at a rate of about 1.3 per day through to mid-March. At 60 North latitude in early March, the planet is placed 23 high in the West at 30 minutes after sundown, but by mid-March it has fallen to 14 - an altitudinal drop of about 0.9 per day over the period. South of the Equator, Venus' apparent position above the local horizon at a given time after sunset is seen to 'backtrack' slightly in the closing days of the apparition, the planet heading a little Southwards along the horizon once more.

Venus as a thin crescent imaged by Andy Casely in August 2023 (Image: Andy Casely/ALPO-Japan)

Venus as a Thin Crescent imaged by Andy Casely (Sydney, Australia) in August 2023 using a 14-inch (355 mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector telescope fitted with a CMOS camera. The planet was 15 from the Sun, only 3.5% illuminated and measured over 55" across (Image: Andy Casely / ALPO-Japan)

Mercury is 10.3 South-west of Venus at midnight UT on March 5th, 9.2 South-west of Venus on the 6th and 8.3 SSW of it on the 7th, the planet brightening by 0.2 magnitudes over the period. Mercury reaches its greatest elongation from the Sun (18.2 East) on March 8th, positioned 7.4 SSW of Venus.

During the second week of March observers at Southern Tropical and Equatorial latitudes lose sight of Venus from the Western dusk sky. Only Northern hemisphere observers can now see the planet in the bright twilight, poised less than 15 above the WNW horizon at thirty minutes after sunset.

At 10:51 UT on March 9th, Mercury passes 6.3 to the South of a slowly retrograding Venus in the final planetary conjunction of Venus' 2024-25 evening apparition. This wide conjunction is not observable South of about latitude 19 South (for more details see the planetary conjunctions section below). Having raced past Venus, Mercury's apparent motion rapidly slows in the week following conjunction, the planet being 5.7 SSE of Venus at midnight UT on March 11th, 5.5 SSE of it at midnight UT on the 12th, 5.3 South-east of it on the 13th and 5.6 South-east of it on the 14th. Mercury's apparent motion ceases on March 15th when it reaches its Eastern stationary point, 5.7 South-east of Venus, following which the planet retrogrades and is quickly lost from view in the dusk solar glare.

As the apparition draws to a close in March, observers equipped with binoculars may attempt to detect the tiny crescent of Venus soon after sunset as it languishes low in the Western sky. Telescopes show a large, thin crescent at this point, over 50" in diameter, the image greatly disturbed by the Earth's turbulent atmosphere and split into the rainbow colours by an effect called dispersion (an example of how dispersion appears through a telescope can be seen here).

In the closing days of the apparition, observers with exceptionally-good eyesight may attempt to view the crescent of Venus after sunset with the naked-eye. Whilst this may seem extraordinary, the planet's apparent size of around 50" brings it very close to the generally-accepted resolution limit of the human eye, i.e. 1 arcminute (60"). Because the planet's solar elongation is now around 20 or less, glare is no longer a problem because the planet is now seen in bright twilight through to its setting, thus reducing the ray-spread and allowing the crescent to be discerned more easily. Venus has now faded somewhat to magnitude -4.1 but it is still the brightest object in the dusk sky apart from the Moon.

Venus' solar elongation reduces to 15 East of the Sun on March 15th. Around this time observers at Northern Tropical latitudes lose sight of Venus from the Western sky at dusk.

On March 19th Venus' elongation reduces to just 10 East and the planet attains its most Northerly ecliptic latitude (Greek lower-case letter 'beta' = +8.5) in South-western Pisces, theoretically providing the best opportunity for higher Northern latitudes to observe Venus both before sunrise and after sunset on the same day. At 15 minutes before sunrise from latitude 60 North the planet stands 6 high in the ENE, whilst at 15 minutes after sunset it is 7 high in the WNW.

Venus is finally lost from view from both mid and high-Northern latitudes by the third week of March, bringing the 2024-25 evening apparition to a close. The planet retrogrades unseen into Pegasus on March 22nd, traversing a 1.2 wide section of the constellation's South-eastern corner over the next two days.

Venus reaches inferior conjunction - passing between the Earth and the Sun - on March 23rd 2025. At the moment of inferior conjunction, Venus is positioned 8.4 North of the Sun's centre (Greek lower-case letter 'beta' = +8.4). After inferior conjunction, the planet heads into the morning sky. Within days, Venus is sighted again from high-Northern latitudes, rising in the Eastern sky as a 'Morning Star' shortly before the Sun, heralding a new morning apparition (2025) which lasts through to November 2025.

 [Terms in yellow italics are explained in greater detail in an associated article describing planetary movements in the night sky.]

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Venus Conjunctions with other Planets in 2024-25

Viewed from the orbiting Earth, whenever two planets appear to pass each other in the night sky (a line-of-sight effect) the event is known as a planetary conjunction or appulse. Not all planetary conjunctions will be visible from the Earth, however, because many of them take place too close to the Sun. Furthermore, not all of them will be seen from across the world; the observers' latitude will affect the altitude (angle above the horizon) at which the two planets are seen at the time of the event and the local season will affect the sky brightness at that particular time. A flat, unobstructed horizon will normally be required to observe most of them.

Planetary conjunctions are generally considered most noteworthy when they involve two bright planets, and none are more spectacular than those involving Venus. During the course of a typical Venusian apparition, Venus moves through eight or more zodiac constellations and in doing so it passes other planets in the sky - and in the case of Mercury, often on more than one occasion.

Because Venus never appears more than 47 from the Sun, it follows that any planetary conjunction involving Venus will also never occur above this angular distance, i.e. its solar elongation will always be less than 47. For an Earthbound observer, a superior planet (i.e. Mars and beyond) seen at such a small elongation poses something of a problem, since it will then be considerably more distant from the Earth - and therefore fainter - than when it is closest and brightest in the sky (namely, at opposition, when its elongation is 180 from the Sun). Jupiter is affected to a much lesser extent since it is always above magnitude -1.6 (brighter than Sirius, the brightest star in the sky).

Planetary conjunctions between Venus and Jupiter are arguably the most spectacular to view, however no such event takes place during the 2024-25 evening apparition.

The easiest conjunction to view during the period in question is on January 20th 2025, when Venus passes 2.5 to the North of Saturn. The planets' location in Aquarius (not far from the celestial equator), together with the wide solar elongation of 47 (only ten days after Venus' greatest elongation day), means that the conjunction is seen in prolonged darkness from across the inhabited world. At magnitude -4.4 Venus is close to its brightest, however Saturn is a poor magnitude +1.0, close to its dimmest since its rings are more or less edge-on to the Earth at this time. As Saturn comes into view in the dusk twilight, the pair are positioned 29 high in the SSW at 50 North, 38 high in the South-west at 30 North and 40 high in the West at the Equator. In the Southern hemisphere they are placed in the West at 30 high (at 25 South), 23 high (at 35 South) and 15 high (at 45 South). Before setting, the pairing is visible for 3 hours (at 60 North) reducing Southwards to 2 hours (at the Equator) and 1 hours (at 45 South).

The February 3rd 2025 conjunction between Venus and Neptune is relatively favourable for Northern hemisphere observers. As Neptune comes into view at nightfall, the planets are positioned 15 high in the WSW at 60 North, 23 high in the WSW at 40 North, 25 high in the WSW in the Northern Tropics and 22 high in the West at the Equator. After nightfall, the pair are observable through to setting for about 1 hours (from latitude 60 North), 2 hours (from 40 North), 1 hours (from the Northern Tropics) and 1 hours (from the Equator). Whilst the solar elongation of the conjunction is a decent 44 (almost the maximum it can be for Venus), for Southern hemisphere observers the shallow angle of the ecliptic to the Western horizon at this time of year means that the altitudes here are no better than in the Northern hemisphere. As Neptune comes into view the planets are positioned in the West at 16 high (15 South) and 11 high (25 South); from here the pair are only visible for about an hour (15 South) and 50 minutes (25 South) before setting. Optical aid will always be required to glimpse Neptune as a pale-blue 'star', however because of the glare caused by Venus, observers may find it easier to position it just outside the field of view so that Neptune may be more comfortably viewed.

Conjunctions between Venus and Mercury typically happen two or three times a year but many of them are too close to the Sun to observe; even when they are visible they are often difficult to see because of their narrow solar elongation. Two conjunctions take place between Venus and Mercury during the 2024-25 evening apparition, one at the start of the apparition and the other at the end. Because of this, the events take place on opposite sides of the zodiac, meaning that one event favours observers in the Southern hemisphere whilst the other favours observers in the Northern hemisphere. In three respects the two conjunctions are similar: they take place at similar elongations (17 and 18), they have wide separations (5.9 and 6.3) and they take place when the two planets are moving in opposite directions against the background stars.

When taking into account the solar elongations, the planets' magnitudes and their altitudes after sunset, the conjunction of March 9th 2025 is perhaps the easiest to view (although it is not observable from latitudes South of about 19 South). As Mercury comes into view in the West at dusk, the planets are positioned 15 high (Venus) and 10 high (Mercury) at 60 North, 17 high (Venus) and 13 high (Mercury) at 30 North and 11 high (both planets) at the Equator. Before Mercury sets, the pairing is visible for about 1 hours (at 60 North), 1 hour (at 30 North) and 40 minutes (at the Equator), the planets setting in darkness in all cases.

The conjunction of August 6th 2024 takes place with Venus in South-western Leo and Mercury only fractionally inside Sextans's Northern boundary with the Lion. From all latitudes which are able to view it, Mercury appears between 1 and 5 higher in the sky than Venus. As Mercury comes into view at dusk, the planets are positioned at most 10 high (Venus) and 13 high (Mercury) in the West at 15 South, reducing to 9 high (Venus) and 10 high (Mercury) in the West at the Equator and only 7 high (Venus) and 12 high (Mercury) in the WNW at 45 South. Before Venus sets, the conjunction is visible for about 20 minutes (at the Equator), 45 minutes (at 15 South) and 1 hour (at 45 South), the planets setting in darkness in all cases.

The four planetary conjunctions involving Venus which are observable during the 2024-25 evening apparition are summarised in the table below.

Table showing the visible Venus conjunctions with other planets during the evening apparition of 2024-25 (Copyright Martin J Powell, 2024)

Venus conjunctions with other planets during the 2024-25 evening apparition The column headed 'UT' is the Universal Time (equivalent to GMT) of the conjunction (in hrs : mins). The separation (column 'Sep') is the angular distance between the two planets, measured relative to Venus, e.g. on 2025 Jan 20, Saturn is positioned 2.5 South of Venus at the time shown. The 'Fav. Hem' column shows the Hemisphere in which the conjunction is best observed. Observers situated at latitudes close to those shown in the 'Notes' column will most likely find the conjunction difficult or impossible to observe because of low altitude and/or bright twilight.

In the 'When Visible' column, a distinction is made between Dusk and Evening visibility; the term Dusk refers specifically to the twilight period after sunset, whilst the term Evening refers to the period after darkness falls (some conjunctions take place in darkness, others do not, depending upon latitude). The 'Con' column shows the constellation in which the planets are positioned at the time of the conjunction.

To find the direction in which the conjunctions are seen on any of the dates in the table, note down the constellation in which the planets are located ('Con' column) on the required date and find the constellation's setting direction for your particular latitude in the Rise-Set direction table.

The table is modified from another showing Venus conjunctions with other planets from 2021 to 2025 on the Venus Conjunctions page.

Although any given conjunction takes place at a particular instant in time, it is worth pointing out that, because of the planets' relatively slow daily motions, such events are interesting to observe for several days both before and after the actual conjunction date.

There are in fact two methods of defining a planetary conjunction date: one is measured in Right Ascension (i.e. perpendicular to the celestial equator) and the other is measured along the ecliptic, which is inclined at 23 to the Earth's equatorial plane (this is due to the tilt of the Earth's axis in space). An animation showing how conjunction dates are determined by each method can be found on the Jupiter-Uranus 2010-11 triple conjunction page. Although conjunctions measured along the ecliptic can be significantly closer, the Right Ascension method is the more commonly used, and it is the one which is adopted here.

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Moon near Venus Dates, August 2024 to March 2025

The Moon is easy to find, and on one or two days in each month, it passes Venus in the sky. Use the following table to see on which dates the Moon passes near the planet during the 2024-25 evening apparition:

Date Range

(World)

Conjunction (Geocentric)

Solar Elong.

Moon Phase

Date & Time

Sep. & Dir.

2024

Aug 5/6

Aug 5, 22:02 UT

1.7 S

17E

Waxing Crescent

throughout

Sep 4/5*

Sep 5, 10:15 UT

1.2 N

25E

Oct 5/6

Oct 5, 20:25 UT

3.0 N

32E

Nov 4/5

Nov 5, 00:14 UT

3.1 N

39E

Dec 4/5

Dec 4, 22:40 UT

2.2 N

44E

2025

Jan 3/4

Jan 3, 15:22 UT

1.4 N

47E

Waxing Crescent

throughout

Feb 1/2

Feb 1, 20:26 UT

2.3 N

45E

Mar 1/2

Mar 1, 23:18 UT

6.4 N

30E

* A lunar occultation takes place, visible in twilight from Antarctica. See The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan website for visibility track and timings.

Moon near Venus dates for the evening apparition of 2024-25. The Date Range shows the range of dates worldwide (allowing for Time Zone differences across East and West hemispheres). Note that the dates, times and separations at conjunction (i.e. when the two bodies are at the same Right Ascension) are measured from the Earth's centre (geocentric) and not from the Earth's surface (times are Universal Time [UT], equivalent to GMT). The Sep. & Dir. column gives the angular distance (separation) and direction of the planet relative to the Moon, e.g. on October 5th at 20:25 UT, Venus is positioned 3.0 North of the Moon's centre.

Because Venus never appears more than 47 from the Sun, the Moon always shows a crescent phase whenever it passes the planet in the sky: a waxing crescent during evening apparitions and a waning crescent during morning apparitions.

 

 

 

A lunar occultation of Venus on December 1st, 2008 (Copyright Martin J Powell, 2008)

 

 

On December 1st, 2008 observers in Europe and North-west Africa witnessed the four-day-old Moon passing in front of Venus (in an event called a lunar occultation) around local sunset/dusk. This photograph of the event was taken by the writer from the south-western United Kingdom. Venus had just emerged from behind the Moon after being hidden from view for about 90 minutes. Depending upon the angular size and phase of Venus at the time of any given occultation, it can take anything from several seconds to more than a minute for the planet to become completely obscured by the passing Moon, and the same time to re-appear. This is in contrast to a star, which, being a very distant point of light, disappears behind the Moon more or less instantaneously.

During the same evening, Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon formed an impressive celestial grouping in the sky, whose appearance varied somewhat depending upon the observers' location and the time of viewing. The grouping was nicknamed 'the smiley face' conjunction and many photos of the event were taken by the general public worldwide.

The Moon moves relatively quickly against the background stars in an Eastward direction, at about its own angular width (0.5) each hour (about 12.2 per day). Because it is relatively close to the Earth, an effect called parallax causes it to appear in a slightly different position (against the background stars) when seen from any two locations on the globe at any given instant; the further apart the locations, the greater the Moon's apparent displacement against the background stars. Therefore, for any given date and time listed in the table, the Moon will appear closer to Venus when seen from some locations than others. For this reason, the dates shown in the table should be used only for general guidance.

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Direction, Altitude & Visibility Duration of Venus after Sunset, July 2024 to March 2025

The following tables give the direction and altitude (angle above the horizon) of Venus at 30 minutes after sunset, together with the duration of visibility of the planet after sunset, for the 2024-25 evening apparition. An explanation of abbreviations in the tables is given in the box below. For the sake of convenience, the table is split into Northern and Southern hemisphere latitudes (the Equator is included in both tables to allow interpolation of the data for observers situated at Equatorial latitudes). The tables should prove sufficient to locate the planet in twilight, allowing telescope users to view the planet in comfort (because of Venus' brilliance, glare becomes a problem when the planet is seen through the eyepiece against a dark sky). Direction and Altitude diagrams are also provided below for intermediate latitudes of 55 North, 35 North, 30 South and the Equator.

The tables allow one to find the highest altitude in the sky which Venus attains for any given latitude during the 2024-25 evening apparition, and in which direction it is seen. For example, observers situated at latitude 30 North find the planet highest in the sky (at 30 minutes after sunset) in mid-January 2025, when it is seen at an altitude of 38 towards the West-South-west (WSW). The duration column shows that the planet is viewable for a little over 3 hours after sunset.

Northern Hemisphere Latitudes

Table showing direction & altitude (30 minutes after local sunset) and visibility duration of Venus for Northern hemisphere latitudes for the 2024-25 evening apparition (Copyright Martin J Powell 2024)

Direction & Altitude (30 minutes after local sunset) and Visibility Duration of Venus for Northern hemisphere latitudes and the Equator for the evening apparition of 2024-25. To find your latitude, visit the Heavens Above website, select your country and enter the name of your nearest town or city in the search box.

The table column headings are as follows:

Dir = compass direction of Venus,

Alt = angular altitude (elevation) of Venus (degrees above the horizon; a negative value of Alt means Venus is below the horizon). Altitudes are accurate to within 1.

Dur = the approximate duration of visibility of Venus after local sunset (in hrs:mins). An italicised  duration means that Venus is seen under twilight conditions through to its setting, i.e. it is not seen against a truly dark sky (twilight in this case refers to nautical twilight, which ends when the Sun is more than 12 below the horizon). A hyphen (-) indicates that Venus sets in daylight. Durations are accurate to within 5 minutes.

Note that the directions and altitudes refer to the planet's position at 30 minutes after local sunset. To find the time of local sunset at your own location, visit the TimeandDate.com website and enter the name of your nearest town or city in the search box. The approximate time at which Venus sets can be found by adding the visibility duration on a particular date (column Dur) to the time of local sunset on the same date. To find the direction in which Venus sets on any given date for a particular latitude, note down the constellation in which the planet is located on the required date (column headed Con) then find its setting direction for your latitude in the Rise-Set direction table.

Southern Hemisphere Latitudes

Table showing direction & altitude (30 minutes after local sunset) and visibility duration of Venus for Southern hemisphere latitudes for the 2024-25 evening apparition (Copyright Martin J Powell 2024)

Direction & Altitude (30 minutes after local sunset) and Visibility Duration of Venus for Southern hemisphere latitudes and the Equator for the evening apparition of 2024-25. The column headings are described under the Northern hemisphere table above.

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Direction & Altitude Diagrams (Horizon Diagrams) for the 2024-25 Evening Apparition

The following diagrams show an observer's Western horizon (from due South to due North) for latitudes of 55 North (a high-Northern latitude), 35 North (mid-Northern), the Equator and 30 South (mid-Southern). The path of Venus is plotted in the sky at 30 minutes after local sunset throughout the 2024-25 evening apparition with the planet's direction and altitude marked along the horizontal and vertical axes, respectively. Essentially, these diagrams show the same information as in the above look-up tables, but in an illustrative format, for the Equator and three intermediate latitudes.

For higher accuracy, the azimuth (the bearing measured clockwise from True North) is also shown along the direction axis. For each of the latitudes shown, the direction and altitude of Venus after sunset can be estimated for any part of the 2024-25 evening apparition by positioning your pointing device over each image (or clicking on it), when an overlay grid will appear, marked at 10 intervals; the values can then be read off accordingly.

 

Path of Venus in the evening sky during 2024-25, seen from latitude 55 North (Copyright Martin J Powell 2016)

The Path of Venus in the Evening Sky (plotted for 30 mins after sunset) during 2024-25 for an observer at latitude 55 North.

Path of Venus in the evening sky during 2024-25, seen from latitude 35 North (Copyright Martin J Powell 2016)

The Path of Venus in the Evening Sky (plotted for 30 mins after sunset) during 2024-25 for an observer at latitude 35 North.

Path of Venus in the evening sky during 2024-25, seen from the Equator (Copyright Martin J Powell 2016)

The Path of Venus in the Evening Sky (plotted for 30 mins after sunset) during 2024-25 for an observer at the Equator (latitude 0).

Path of Venus in the evening sky during 2024-25, seen from latitude 30 South (Copyright Martin J Powell 2016)

The Path of Venus in the Evening Sky (plotted for 30 mins after sunset) during 2024-25 for an observer at latitude 30 South.

Paths of Venus in the Evening Sky (30 mins after sunset) for the 2024-25 evening apparition, as seen by observers at latitudes 55 North, 35 North, the Equator and 30 South. The letters GE refer to the planet's greatest elongation (followed in brackets by its angular distance from the Sun) and the letters GB refer to the planet's greatest brilliance point (followed in brackets by its apparent magnitude).

The azimuth (Az, along the bottom of each diagram) is the bearing measured clockwise from True North (where 0 = North, 90 = East, 180 = South, etc.). The altitude (Alt) is the angle measured vertically from the local horizon (the horizon itself is 0). Azimuth and altitude are co-ordinates which are used for high-accuracy tracking of objects across the sky; in astronomy it is mainly used for setting telescopes which are fitted with altazimuth mounts.

To determine the planet's position in the sky with higher accuracy, move your pointing device over each image (or click on the picture) to see an overlay grid marked at 10 intervals in azimuth and altitude (the dates are removed for clarity). For example, at latitude 35 North on February 1st 2025, at 30 minutes after sunset, Venus is found at azimuth = 240 (i.e. in the WSW) and altitude = 37. Azimuths and altitudes of Venus are plotted to within an accuracy of 1.

Although the dates indicated in the above diagrams refer specifically to the period 2024-25, Venus has an 8-year cycle of apparitions such that its position in the evening sky in 2024-25 will repeat very closely in the evening sky of 2032-33. The writer refers to this particular evening apparition as Apparition H1; for more details, see the accompanying article describing The Venus 8-year Cycle.

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Naked-eye Venus: Apparitions, Conjunctions and Elongations

The Naked-eye appearance of Venus

Naked Eye Planet Index

Planetary Movements through the Zodiac

Mercury

Venus 

Mars

Jupiter

Saturn

Uranus

Neptune

Pluto


Credits


Copyright  Martin J Powell  March 2024


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