Astronomy Essentials

Venus in the daytime: How to see it in daylight

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Alexander Krivenyshev of the website caught Venus in the daytime on January 27, 2022, over New York City. Note the inset at the far right, showing the moon in a waning crescent phase that day. Now notice the middle inset. That’s a crescent Venus. It looks that way because its lighted face was turned mostly away from us then. The inset on the left shows the sun itself, which was just breaching the horizon when Alexander captured this image. Thank you, Alexander! Thank you, Alexander!

You might know that Venus is the brightest object in the sky after the sun and the moon. But, did you know you can see Venus during the day? Now is a good time to look for Venus before sunset. Venus will reach its greatest elongation on June 4, 2023. And it’ll be at greatest brilliancy around July 7, 2023. If you catch a good photo of Venus, be sure to submit it to EarthSky!

Venus is visible in the daytime

Cultures around the world know this. Some languages have a designated name for Venus as a daystar. For example, in many eastern European languages Venus is also known as Danica, the daystar of Slavic mythology.

When Venus is near its greatest brilliancy, as it is in early July 2023, it’s easiest to spot shining out from a blue sky. Venus is currently an evening object, so you can find it before sunset as soon as you can block out the sun before it sets. Near the end of the month, around the evening of July 21, the crescent moon will pass close to Venus. These pairings are ideal for photographers. Check the EarthSky visible planets and night sky guide for current information.

Why can you see Venus during the day? Because Venus is so bright thanks to its location near us, proximity to the sun and reflective clouds. The only natural objects in the sky that outshine Venus are the sun and moon.

How to see Venus in the daytime

There are many different techniques for spotting Venus in the daytime. We discuss some of the more common methods here:

1. Venus in the predawn sky

2. Venus when the moon is nearby

3. Venus when it’s transiting through the meridian

View larger. | The easiest way to see Venus in the daytime is to start when it’s still night. Find Venus near the sunrise point in the morning. Be sure to position it near a tree, lamppost or building in your foreground. Then keep track of it after the sun rises and the sky turns blue. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to pick out Venus, once you know where to look. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

Observe Venus in the predawn sky

Take advantage of Venus’s brilliance by tracking it down in daylight. Finding Venus in daylight in the morning sky is much easier than finding it in the evening sky. That’s because you can start watching it before sunrise, then follow it until after sunrise. Venus will be at its brightest in the morning sky around September 19, 2023.

No matter where you are on Earth, here are some general rules to follow for seeing Venus shortly after sunrise:

– Use a free astronomy app, such as Stellarium, to enter your exact location. You can find out where Venus is with respect to the sunrise (or the moon) in your sky on a specific date.

– Check a good sunrise/sunset calculator for the exact time of sunrise at your location, such as this one at Sunrise Sunset Calendars.

– Find Venus before sunrise. It’ll be easy because it’ll be the brightest starlike object in the sunrise direction. Then keep an eye on it, as long as you can, after the sun pokes above the horizon. Be sure not to look at the sun! To make it easier, position yourself so that Venus is placed in your sky in relationship to a foreground object, such as a tree or utility pole. When you spot Venus in daylight, it will be small and inconspicuous. If you look away and look back, it will be hard to find it again. It helps a lot if you have an object nearby, such as a tree or the moon.

Observe Venus when the moon is nearby

On the evenings around June 21, 2023, the waxing crescent moon and Venus will be in the same neighborhood of the sky. That’ll be an excellent time to look because Venus will still be relatively near its July 7, 2023, greatest brilliancy. If you catch a good photo of the moon and Venus, be sure to submit it to EarthSky!

Even on the days the moon is not especially close to Venus in our skies, it can still help you navigate to this bright planet. This is especially true when Venus is positioned exactly halfway between the moon and the sun. This happens somewhere on Earth every month, although the three objects might not be in a perfect line. Use Stellarium to find out when this will happen next for you. Just set the scene for the late afternoon sky, and click forward through the dates.

Of course, the easiest way to find Venus in the daytime is just before or after an occultation by the moon. During such events, the moon passes in front of Venus from our earthly perspective. And – especially if the occultation happens in daytime from your location – you might glimpse Venus near the lighted (or darkened) edge of the moon. Unfortunately, for a fixed location on Earth, occultations of Venus are rare

See our gallery of the March 24, 2023 lunar occultation of Venus.

June 21, 2023, is a notable date because it marks the June solstice, the 1st day of summer for the Northern Hemisphere and 1st day of winter for the Southern Hemisphere. 2023’s solstice will feature the waxing crescent moon glowing next to brilliant Venus with the much, much dimmer Mars nearby. Look low in the west shortly after sunset for this scene in the darkening twilight. Chart by John Goss/ EarthSky.

To find out when Venus is near the moon … see the charts in our EarthSky visible planets and night sky guide for current information.

Observe Venus in the daytime on the meridian

Venus orbits one step inward from Earth. So we always see it near the sun in our sky, and, generally speaking, after sunrise it’s hard to see. But Venus is up there, every day, following or leading in the path of the sun across our sky. So, if you could see Venus any day, you’d always notice it passing due south in your sky once a day (as seen from the Northern Hemisphere), or due north once a day (as seen from the Southern Hemisphere), just as the sun does. When Venus passes due south (or due north), astronomers say that Venus is transiting the meridian in your sky.

To find Venus as its transits your meridian, you need to know the direction south (from the Northern Hemisphere) or north (from the Southern Hemisphere). In many cities in North America, streets are aligned with north/south or east/west directions. In such cities, it’s easy to find those cardinal points.

No north-south streets? Here’s another way to find due south (or due north) in your sky. Try putting a stick in the ground and observing when the sun is highest in your sky, using your astronomy app. At the instant the sun is highest (aka astronomical noon or solar noon), the sun will be due south from the Northern Hemisphere (and due north from the Southern Hemisphere). And the shadow of your stick will point to the north (or south). If you mark these cardinal directions with respect to your favorite observing spot, it’ll make your observing easier! And it’ll help you find Venus during the day.

The meridian is just an imaginary line across your sky – a great circle from due south to due north – passing through your local zenith or highest point in the sky. So at the moment it transits the meridian, Venus is the highest in the sky for that day.

If you know the direction of south (or north), the next step is to find out how high in your sky Venus is as it transits your meridian. Your astronomy app (or Stellarium) can help you with the exact moment of meridian transit as well as exact altitude of Venus at that time.

Since it’s not easy to judge angles in the sky, start observing low in the direction of south (or north) and then move slowly upwards, until you meet a bright point of light.

Venus in the daytime photo gallery

Steven Bellavia caught this image of crescent Venus in a daytime sky from Mattituck, New York, on November 23, 2018. He offers these tips for seeing Venus in a daylight sky. 1. Put a building between you and the sun. Make sure you are completely in the shade of the building and cannot see the sun. 2. Start with low-power binoculars or a hand-held 6×30 finder scope (NEVER point either of these at or near the sun!) 3. After finding Venus with the binoculars or a finder scope, slowly and carefully remove the binocular or finder scope away from your eyes, without moving your head, and try to spot Venus with your eyes. Thanks, Steven!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Filipp Romanov near Nakhodka, Primorsky Krai, Russia, captured this image on March 24, 2023. Filipp wrote: “Crescent moon and Venus conjunction above the Orthodox Church. Photographed with a mobile phone camera.” Thank you, Filipp!

Bottom line: June and July 2023 are great months to try and spot Venus in a daytime sky. Venus shines at its brightest around the evening of July 7 and the moon passes Venus on July 21. Early morning risers can watch for Venus in the morning sky around September 19.
Read more: Top 10 space objects to see during the day

June 2, 2023
Astronomy Essentials

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