The brightest planet Venus has been gone from Earth’s sky for a couple of months. That’s because it passed behind the sun from Earth in early June, and it’s been traveling on the far side of the solar system, lost in the sun’s glare to all earthly observers. Photographers using telephoto lenses are now beginning to spot Venus again. By mid-July, 2016, it’ll become visible to the eye once more. Can’t wait? This video tracks Venus from when it reappears again in our evening sky in July, 2016 … all the way to April, 2017. EarthSky friend Larry Koehn of the great website shadowandsubstance.com made this animation, and he wrote:
The most interesting date is on August 27 when Jupiter and Venus will be a little less than 8 arc-minutes apart.
Venus will reach greatest elongation (greatest angular separation from the sun), 47°, on January 12, 2017.
I have also inserted a small view of what you would see if you were to watch Venus through a telescope over the coming months. Venus starts off small and round in July. As the days progress, Venus becomes larger and closer to the Earth, and it goes through various phases of illumination much like the moon. By the time it reaches March 2017, Venus will have a thin crescent phase. Venus will reach inferior conjunction [more or less between the Earth and sun] on March 25, 2017.
The music is from Mark Knopfler from the movie soundtrack Local Hero (Whistle Theme) – highly recommended!
Thank you, Larry!
Bottom line: Video animation of the track of Venus (and other planets) from July 2016 to April 2017.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.