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Direction, Altitude & Visibility Duration of Venus after Sunset, 2010:

Look-up Tables

Horizon Diagrams

2010 Evening Apparition Data

Moon near Venus Dates, March-October 2010

Path of Venus 2010 (Mini-Star Map)

The Venus Evening Apparition of 2011-2012

Star chart showing the paths of Venus, Mars, Mercury and Saturn through Leo, Virgo and Libra from July to October 2010 (Copyright Martin J Powell 2010)

 

The Paths of Venus, Mars, Mercury and Saturn through the zodiac constellations for the latter part of Venus' evening apparition in 2010. Planet positions are plotted for 0 hrs Universal Time (UT) at 5-day intervals. Wherever a planet is too close to the Sun to view, the path is shown by a dashed line; hence both Venus and Mercury became difficult to view at the close of their evening apparitions (Mercury in late August, Venus in late October) as they headed towards inferior conjunction with the Sun. 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 Venus and Mercury attained greatest elongation from the Sun are indicated by the letters 'GE', with the solar elongation angle in brackets. The position at which Venus attained greatest brilliancy for this apparition (apparent magnitude = -4.5) is shown by the letters 'GB'. Note that the July/August evening apparition of Mercury shown on the chart favoured Southern hemisphere observers, who should refer to the Southern hemisphere chart for a more appropriate orientation.

Conjunctions of Venus with Mars took place on August 23rd and September 29th; a conjunction of Venus with Saturn took place on August 10th (for more details see the Venus planetary conjunctions table). The path of Mars on this chart is continued from the Mars 2009-10 chart, whilst that of Saturn is excerpted from the Saturn 2006-13 chart; more details of these planets' apparitions can be found on these pages.

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.

The Venus Evening Apparition of 2010 by Martin J Powell

Following superior conjunction on January 11th 2010 (when it passed directly behind the Sun) Venus emerged in the dusk sky in late February 2010 as an 'Evening Star', setting in the West shortly after the Sun. As typifies a Venusian evening apparition, the planet was slow to emerge from the twilight glow, taking several weeks to gain a significant altitude (angle above the horizon) after sunset. When seen through a telescope, the planet showed a broad gibbous phase at this time, shining at an apparent magnitude of -3.9 and measuring only around 10" across (i.e. 10 arcseconds, where 1" = 1/60th of an arcminute or 1/3600 of a degree). However, its low altitude, great distance from the Earth and small apparent size made it a difficult object to observe telescopically, with no detail being discernible in its clouds. The planet was positioned on the Aquarius/Pisces border as it entered the evening sky, moving steadily North-eastwards along the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun, Moon and planets) at a rate of about 1.2 per day.

On March 12th the planet made a brief exit from the zodiac, entering the constellation of Cetus, the Whale before re-entering Pisces along its Southern border on March 15th. On March 9th Venus crossed the celestial equator (declination = 0) heading Northwards and three weeks later (on March 30th) it entered the constellation of Aries, the Ram. The planet passed a wide 11 to the South of that constellation's brightest star Hamal (Greek letter Alpha Arietis, mag. +0.2) on April 4th.

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As March gave way to April, Venus became more readily visible to Northern hemisphere observers, hanging low over the Western horizon and setting an hour or so after sunset. Now at a more comfortable solar elongation of around 20, the brilliant-white planet began to catch the attention of millions of people worldwide as they made their homeward journey from workplaces, colleges and schools. Viewed from the Southern hemisphere, the planet did not really become prominent until around mid-May.

Venus remained in Aries for a little under three weeks, entering Taurus, the Bull on April 19th. Five days later (April 24th) the planet passed 3.6 South of the open star cluster known as the Pleiades (pronounced 'PLY-add-eez' or 'PLEE-add-eez') or The Seven Sisters (M45 or Messier 45), perhaps the best-known star cluster in the night sky. Now sinking into the evening twilight, the cluster is not seen at its best at this time of year. Under dark skies the seven brightest stars in the group can be seen with the naked-eye and they are often considered to be a good test of visual acuity; they are Alcyone (Greek symbol Eta Tauri, mag. +2.9), Atlas (mag. +3.6), Electra (mag. +3.7), Merope (mag. +4.2), Taygete (mag. +4.3), Pleione (mag. +5.1v) and Celaeno (mag. +5.5).

On May 4th Venus passed 6.5 North of Taurus' brightest star Aldebaran (Greek letter Alpha Tauri, mag. +0.9), a red giant star which appears as part of the V-shaped open cluster of stars known as the Hyades. The cluster comprises around 200 stars spread over an area of about 5 of the sky; they lie at a distance of about 150 light years from Earth (where 1 light year = 63,240 Astronomical Units). The presence of Aldebaran within the cluster is purely a line-of-sight effect; in fact the star is not a physical member of the group, being at a much closer distance of 68 light years.

For observers at high-Northern latitudes, the month of May saw Venus at its highest altitude in the sky after sunset for the 2010 apparition, the planet being around 15 high some 30 minutes after sunset. This is because, from these latitudes, the ecliptic presented a high angle to the Western horizon at the point in the zodiac where Venus was positioned at the time (namely, in Taurus and Gemini). Although the angle of the ecliptic to the horizon may be steep, the solar elongation of 30 around this time was not as wide as other evening apparitions of Venus where the planet is viewed under similar circumstances. In late March 2012 and early February 2017, for example, the angle of the ecliptic to the horizon will also be steep after sunset but Venus will then be positioned over 40 from the Sun and consequently much higher in the sky (see the accompanying table showing the maximum altitudes attained by Venus after sunset during its 8-year cycle).

Venus left Taurus and entered Gemini on May 20th, and shortly afterwards (May 23rd) the planet attained its highest declination (angle above the celestial equator) for this apparition of +25.0. Venus then set at its most Northerly point along the horizon, an effect which is more pronounced the further North in latitude an observer is situated.  For example, at the Equator (latitude 0) the planet set in the West-North-west at this time whilst at 60 North the planet set in the North-North-west, some 35 further North along the horizon.

By early June, Venus had brightened a little to magnitude -4.0 and with a phase of around 80% was appearing notably gibbous through telescopes, having enlarged in size to around 13 arcsconds. On June 7th the planet passed 8.2 South of Castor (Greek letter Alpha Geminorum, mag. +1.6), Gemini's second-brightest star. Two days later (June 9th) the planet passed 4.7 South of Gemini's brightest star (and Castor's twin) named Pollux (Greek letter Beta Geminorum, mag. +1.1). Southern hemisphere observers, now approaching local Winter, began to see Venus against the backdrop of a truly dark sky, the planet shining like a distant arc-lamp above the North-western horizon and setting over two hours after the Sun.

Venus entered Cancer - the faintest of the zodiac constellations - on June 12th. Around this time, observers at mid-Northern latitudes saw Venus reaching its highest altitude in the sky after sunset for the 2010 apparition, the planet being positioned around 20 to 25 above the horizon some 30 minutes after sunset.

On June 20th the planet passed 0.8 North of the star cluster commonly known as Praesepe (pronounced 'pree-SEE-pee') or the Beehive Cluster. Under dark, rural skies it is visible to the naked-eye as a hazy patch of light and in city locations it is easily seen in binoculars. The cluster is also referred to by its more technical names M44 and NGC 2632.

Venus moved from Cancer into Leo on June 29th, where it remained for a little under five weeks; the planet first appears on the star chart (top of page) from about July 5th. On July 10th the planet passed 1.1 North of Leo's leading star Regulus (Greek letter Alpha Leonis, mag. +1.3), which is at the base of the Sickle of Leo, an asterism shaped like a backwards question-mark [A backwards question-mark!].

In late July and into August, observers situated in Equatorial latitudes saw the planet reaching around 35 altitude at 30 minutes after sunset, the highest altitude of the 2010 apparition attained by the planet from these latitudes.

Now brightening more significantly, Venus moved from Leo into Virgo on August 1st, shining at magnitude -4.2. On August 10th Venus was in conjunction with Saturn (i.e. the two planets attained the same celestial longitude), Venus passing 3.1 to the South of the ringed planet. Saturn was now considerably more distant from the Earth and consequently dimmer than it had appeared when at opposition in the previous March, having faded from magnitude +0.5 to + 1.2 (for more details see the Saturn 2006-13 page).

Star map showing the path of Venus through the zodiac during the 2010 evening apparition (Copyright Martin J Powell, 2010)

The Path of Venus through the Zodiac Constellations during the planet's evening apparition in 2010 (move your cursor over the image - or click on the image - to reveal the constellation names in their abbreviated three-letter form - the full names are listed here). Zodiac constellations are labelled in green and non-zodiac constellations in grey. Also marked on the chart are the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun through the constellations, which the planets and the Moon follow very closely) and the celestial equator. The numbers along the sides of the chart (Right Ascension and Declination) are co-ordinates of celestial longitude and latitude which astronomers use to locate the position of a celestial body in the night sky. The current position of Venus in the zodiac can be seen on the accompanying graphic showing the Current Position of the Sun and the Brighter Naked-Eye Planets.

From mid- to late August, observers at mid-Southern latitudes got their chance to see Venus at its highest altitude in the sky after sunset. In fact, from these latitudes the planet reached a higher altitude in the sky after sunset than any other latitude during the 2010 apparition, the planet being some 38 above the horizon at 30 minutes after sunset.

Venus reached its greatest Eastern elongation from the Sun on August 20th, when it was positioned 46 East of the Sun and shone at magnitude -4.3. At this point, telescopes showed Venus resembling a small half-Moon (phase = 0.50 or 50% illuminated) with an apparent diameter of  24".4. Whilst the time of greatest elongation is normally considered to be the best time to observe the planet, in this particular apparition observers at high-Northern latitudes found the planet to be low down in the sky after sunset and caught in the long summer twilight, being visible for only an hour or so after sundown. Unlike the situation three months earlier, Venus' position in South-western Virgo meant that the planet was now on the descending (Southward) section of the ecliptic. Seen from high-Northern latitudes, the ecliptic now presented a shallow angle to the local horizon after sunset, positioning the planet low down in the sky (telescopic observers of the planet would be less concerned about this, since they normally observe the planet in full daylight, when it is much higher in the sky). Southern hemisphere observers fared much better at this stage of the apparition, Venus having been high up in the sky and visible for over three hours after sunset.

For a few days around greatest elongation, telescopic observers often look to find the precise moment when the terminator (the line seperating the light and dark sides of the planet) appears perfectly straight, essentially dividing Venus in two perfect halves. In theory this should occur on greatest elongation day, however it often does not and the precise reason for this is not known. This anomaly is known as Schrter's Effect and it is well-known amongst telescopic observers of the planet.

On August 23rd, Venus passed 3.1 South of Mars, the Red Planet now an unremarkable pale-orange 'star' shining at magnitude +1.5. Mars had been slowly fading since its aphelic opposition in late January and had been moving steadily Eastwards along the zodiac at a rate of about 0.5 per day since mid-March (for more details, see the Mars 2009-10 page).

Although reaching its greatest elongation angle (46) on August 20th, Venus was in fact positioned at 46 from the Sun for a three-week period from August 8th through to August 31st. From early September the planet began to close in towards the Sun once more, its solar elongation now reducing, with telescopes showing a crescent phase and a rapidly enlarging apparent disk size. On September 1st, Venus passed 1.0 South of the star Spica (Greek letter Alpha Virginis, mag. +1.0), the brightest star in Virgo. During September the apparent size of the Venusian disk enlarged from 28".3 (on September 1st) to 44".0 (on September 30th). Having started the month at greatest elongation distance, Venus ended the month some 9 closer to the Sun.

On September 23rd, whilst approaching the Virgo/Libra border, Venus attained its greatest brilliancy for this apparition at magnitude -4.5. The planet's greatest brilliancy occurs when the percentage of the illuminated portion of the disk (phase) and its angular size combine to best visual effect. In 2010 this took place when the planet was 25% illuminated (phase = 0.25), its angular diameter was 39".8 and its solar elongation was 39. For observers at high-Northern latitudes, however, the planet's greatest brilliancy in 2010 was not seen against a truly dark sky because the planet was then low down after sunset and masked by twilight. Southern hemisphere observers, on the other hand, saw Venus in its true majestic brilliance in a dark sky above the Western horizon.

When Venus entered Virgo in early August it was moving at a daily angular motion of 1.0, but by the time it entered Libra on September 24th its motion had slowed to 0.5 per day and its path through the sky had deviated Southward, carrying it some 6 away from the ecliptic. Mars, moving at a more steady rate through Virgo and keeping closer to the ecliptic, effectively 'caught up' with Venus, the two reaching conjunction for a second time on September 29th.

Venus reached a stationary point in South-western Libra on October 8th, at which point its prolonged period of direct (West to East) motion ceased and it commenced retrograde (East to West) motion, turning back towards Virgo and re-entering that constellation on October 20th. Now heading directly into the Sun's glare, the planet's period of visibility from Earth was drawing to a close.

Date

Constellation

Apparent

Magnitude

Apparent

Diameter

(arcsecs)

View from

Earth

(0h UT)

(North up)

Distance (AU)*

Solar

Elongation

Illuminated

Phase

from Earth

from Sun

2010

 Mar 3

Aqr

-3.9

10".0

View of Venus from Earth on March 3rd 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.6641

0.7258

12E

98%

 Mar 13

Psc

-3.9

10".2

View of Venus from Earth on March 13th 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.6420

0.7245

15E

97%

 Mar 23

Psc

-3.9

10".3

View of Venus from Earth on March 23rd 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.6150

0.7231

17E

96%

Apr 2

Ari

-3.9

10".5

View of Venus from Earth on April 2nd 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.5832

0.7218

19E

94%

Apr 12

Ari

-3.9

10".8

View of Venus from Earth on April 12th 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.5464

0.7205

22E

93%

Apr 22

Tau

-3.9

11".1

View of Venus from Earth on April 22nd 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.5043

0.7196

24E

91%

May 2

Tau

-3.9

11".5

View of Venus from Earth on May 2nd 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.4571

0.7188

27E

89%

May 12

Tau

-3.9

11".9

View of Venus from Earth on May 12th 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.4049

0.7184

29E

86%

May 22

Gem

-4.0

12".4

View of Venus from Earth on May 22nd 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.3477

0.7184

32E

84%

Jun 1

Gem

-4.0

13".0

View of Venus from Earth on June 1st 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.2859

0.7188

34E

81%

Jun 11

Gem

-4.0

13".7

View of Venus from Earth on June 11th 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.2199

0.7195

36E

78%

Jun 21

Cnc

-4.0

14".5

View of Venus from Earth on June 21st 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.1501

0.7206

38E

74%

Jul 1

Leo

-4.0

15".5

View of Venus from Earth on July 1st 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.0770

0.7218

40E

71%

Jul 11

Leo

-4.1

16".7

View of Venus from Earth on July 11th 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

1.0014

0.7232

42E

67%

Jul 21

Leo

-4.1

18".1

View of Venus from Earth on July 21st 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

0.9238

0.7245

44E

63%

Jul 31

Leo

-4.2

19".8

View of Venus from Earth on July 31st 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

0.8447

0.7258

45E

59%

Aug 10

Vir

-4.3

21".8

View of Venus from Earth on August 10th 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

0.7649

0.7269

46E

54%

Aug 20

Vir

-4.3

24".4

View of Venus from Earth on August 20th 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

0.6850

0.7276

46E

49%

Aug 30

Vir

-4.4

27".5

View of Venus from Earth on August 30th 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

0.6059

0.7281

46E

43%

Sep 9

Vir

-4.5

31".6

View of Venus from Earth on September 9th 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

0.5288

0.7282

44E

37%

Sep 19

Vir

-4.5

36".7

View of Venus from Earth on September 19th 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

0.4551

0.7279

41E

29%

Sep 29

Lib

-4.6

43".1

View of Venus from Earth on September 29th 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

0.3873

0.7272

36E

21%

Oct 9

Lib

-4.5

50".6

View of Venus from Earth on October 9th 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

0.3297

0.7263

28E

12%

Oct 19

Lib

-4.3

57".8

View of Venus from Earth on October 19th 2010 at 0h UT (Image modified from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4)

0.2885

0.7251

17E

4%

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

Table of selected data relating to evening apparition of Venus during 2010. The data is listed at 10-day intervals, the latter part corresponding with the dates shown in bright white on the star map (top of page). The data for the table was obtained from 'MegaStar', 'Redshift 5'  and 'SkyGazer Ephemeris' software and the Venusian disk images were derived from NASA's Solar System Simulator v4.

From around early October, steadily-held binoculars detected the crescent of Venus soon after sunset, as the planet languished low in the West-South-western sky. Telescopes showed a large, thin crescent at this point, the image greatly disturbed by turbulence in the Earth's 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).

As the Venusian crescent continued to enlarge it also became more slender, such that the dark (non-illuminated) side of the planet was well-displayed when seen from the Earth. With the aid of ultraviolet and infrared filters, telescopic observers now began 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. Given the extremely high temperatures which are known to exist beneath the Venusian clouds, the Ashen Light is today considered by many to be a visual indication of the planet's surface glowing red hot.

From mid-October, observers with exceptionally-good eyesight may have attempted to observe the crescent of Venus with the naked-eye. Whilst this may seem extraordinary, the planet's apparent size of around 58" brings it very close to the generally-accepted resolution of the human eye, i.e. 1' (1 arcminute, or 1/60th of a degree). Because the planet's solar elongation was then around 15 or less, glare was no longer a problem because the planet was then seen in bright twilight through to its setting, theoretically allowing the crescent to be discerned more easily.

During the fnal week of October Venus quickly sank into the twilight glare and became lost from view from all locations, reaching inferior conjunction (passing between the Earth and the Sun) on October 29th. The period of non-visibility was brief, however; by the second week of November 2010, Venus was seen rising as a 'Morning Star' in the Eastern sky shortly before the Sun, heralding a new morning apparition (2010-11) which lasted through to July 2011.

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

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Moon near Venus Dates, March to October 2010

The Moon is easy to find, and on one or two days in each month, it passes Venus in the sky. Use the following tables to see on which dates the Moon passed near the planet between March and October 2010:

Date Range

(World)

Conjunction (Geocentric)

Solar Elong.

Moon Phase

Date & Time

Sep. & Dir.

2010

Mar 16/17

Mar 17, 11:38 UT

5.6 S

16E

Waxing Crescent

throughout

Apr 16/17

Apr 16, 12:53 UT

4.1 S

23E

May 15/16*

May 16, 10:15 UT

0.1 S

30E

Jun 14/15

Jun 15, 07:07 UT

3.9 N

37E

Jul 14/15

Jul 15, 01:06 UT

6.0 N

43E

Aug 13/14

Aug 13, 12:07 UT

4.5 N

46E

Sep 11/12

Sep 11, 13:06 UT

0.3 N

44E

Oct 9/10

Oct 9, 15:50 UT

3.3 S

28E

* A lunar occultation took place, visible from North Africa, the Middle East and southern Asia.

A lunar occultation took place, visible from eastern Brazil, southern Africa and the southern Indian Ocean.

 

Moon near Venus dates for the evening apparition of 2010. 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 July 15th at 01:06 UT, Venus was positioned 6.0 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.

 

 

 

 

The Moon moves relatively quickly against the background stars (in an Eastward direction, at about its own angular width [0.5] each hour, or about 12.2 per day) and 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 appeared 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, March to October 2010

The following tables give the direction and altitude (angle above the horizon) of Venus at 30 minutes after sunset, together with the visibility duration of the planet after sunset, for the 2010 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). These tables should have proved 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 attained for any given latitude during the 2010 evening apparition, and in which direction it was seen. For example, observers situated at latitude 40 North (a mid-Northern latitude) found the planet highest in the sky (at 30 minutes after sunset) in early June, when it was seen at an altitude of 21 towards the West-North-west. Around this time, the planet was above the horizon for about 2 hours after sunset.

Northern Hemisphere Latitudes

Table showing direction & altitude (30 minutes after local sunset) and visible duration of Venus for Northern hemisphere latitudes for the 2010 evening apparition (Copyright Martin J Powell 2010)

Direction & Altitude (30 minutes after local sunset) and Visibility Duration of Venus for Northern hemisphere latitudes and the Equator for the evening apparition of 2010. To find your latitude, visit the Heavens Above website, select your country and enter the name of your nearest town or city using the 'Town Search' facility.

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).

    Dur = the approximate visibility duration 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 letter 'D' indicates that Venus sets in daylight.

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, select your country/town from the drop-down menu at the Time and Date.com website. 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 visible duration of Venus for Southern hemisphere latitudes for the 2010 evening apparition (Copyright Martin J Powell 2010)

Direction & Altitude (30 minutes after local sunset) and Visibility Duration of Venus for Southern hemisphere latitudes and the Equator for the evening apparition of 2010. The column headings are described under the Northern hemisphere table above.

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Direction & Altitude Diagrams (Horizon Diagrams) for the 2010 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 2010 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 2010 evening apparition by positioning your pointing device over each image, 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 2010, seen from latitude 55 North (Copyright Martin J Powell 2010)

The Path of Venus in the Evening Sky (plotted for 30 mins after sunset) during 2010 for an observer at latitude 55 North.

Path of Venus in the evening sky during 2010, seen from latitude 35 North (Copyright Martin J Powell 2010)

The Path of Venus in the Evening Sky (plotted for 30 mins after sunset) during 2010 for an observer at latitude 35 North.

Path of Venus in the evening sky during 2010, seen from the Equator (Copyright Martin J Powell 2010)

The Path of Venus in the Evening Sky (plotted for 30 mins after sunset) during 2010 for an observer at the Equator (latitude 0).

Path of Venus in the evening sky during 2010, seen from latitude 30 South (Copyright Martin J Powell 2010)

The Path of Venus in the Evening Sky (plotted for 30 mins after sunset) during 2010 for an observer at latitude 30 South.

Paths of Venus in the Evening Sky (30 mins after sunset) for the 2010 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 30 South on July 1st 2010, at 30 minutes after sunset, Venus was found at azimuth = 313 (i.e. in the North-west) and altitude = 28.

Although the dates indicated in the above diagrams refer specifically to the year 2010, Venus has an 8-year cycle of apparitions such that its position in the evening sky in 2010 will repeat very closely in the evening sky of 2018. The author refers to this particular evening apparition as Apparition A; for more details, see the accompanying article describing The Venus 8-year Cycle.

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Naked-eye Venus: Apparitions, Conjunctions and Elongations, 2010-2015

The Naked-eye appearance of Venus

Naked Eye Planet Index

Planetary Movements through the Zodiac

 

Mercury

Venus

Mars

Jupiter

Saturn

Uranus

Neptune

Pluto

Current Position of the Sun and the Brighter Naked-Eye Planets ('Live' Star Map)


 

Credits

 


Copyright  Martin J Powell  April 2010. Article retired (converted to past tense) November 2010


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