Planet Venus is About to Reappear at Evening Sky This Week

After an absence of just over a year, “evening star” Venus is about to reappear. On Monday evening (October 24), it sets about 23 degrees south of due west about 50 minutes after sunset. Only ambitious, skilled observers may spot the planet then, but by October 30 this will have improved slightly to 55 minutes, giving less experienced skywatchers a fighting chance to get their first glimpse. Continuing to swing east of the sun during November, Venus will soon become plainly visible in the west-southwest evening sky, even to the most casual of observers. Appearing as a brilliant white starlike object of magnitude 3.9, our sister planet will set at least an hour after the sun by November  3. It slowly rises higher each evening to adorn the western evening sky all during the upcoming winter and early spring.

By New Year’s Day, it will set as late as 2 1/2 hours after the sun. Venus reaches its greatest elongation its greatest angular distance 46 degrees to the east of the sun on March 26. The planet currently appears almost full (95-percent sunlit on Monday evening), and thus appears as a tiny, dazzling gibbous disk. It will become noticeably less gibbous by midwinter.