Venus to return as ‘morning star’ late August 2023

Venus as ‘morning star’

For most of 2023, we saw Venus – the brightest planet – in the west after sunset. Many called it the evening star.

And, of course, Venus isn’t a star. It’s the next planet inward from Earth. Venus goes between us and the sun about every 19 months.

It did that last on August 13, 2023. Now, Venus is about to come back to our sky … this time in the east before dawn. People will call it the morning star.

Star chart: Venus at bottom of green ecliptic line, with 3 labeled stars nearby.
Before August 21, 2023, Venus will lie too close to the sun to see easily. In the last part of August, though, it’ll be rising in the east shortly before sunrise. If you do catch Venus this month, it’ll be a thin crescent in a telescope. In addition, the bright stars Procyon, Castor and Pollux are nearby. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

It passed between us and sun August 13

The image below is from August 13, 2023 – just a few days ago – when Venus went between us and the sun. That day, it appeared about 7.7 degrees south of the sun in our sky.

Very thin, fuzzy crescent Venus in a slate blue sky.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Steven Bellavia of Mattituck, New York, captured this image on August 13, 2023, at 3:28 p.m. He wrote: “Venus, 0.9% illuminated, at (or very close to) inferior conjunction.” Thank you, Steven!

Where is Venus now?

Now, Venus is racing ahead of Earth in its smaller orbit around the sun. So it’s about return to being visible in our sky again. It’ll be back before August comes to an end.

But now, we’ll see it on the other side of the sun in our sky – east before sunrise – as the beautiful “morning star.”

So Venus might surprise you some late August or early September morning.

You’ll look up and notice it – very bright, very low in the east – near the sunrise point. Indeed, it’ll be surprisingly bright for being so low in the sky.

Brightest mid-September 2023

It’ll go on to be brightest around mid-September … the “morning star.” Really, though, the planet Venus. An oddly bright beacon in the east in early morning for the rest of 2023.

Watch for it.

Gray and white circle with sun at center, planets around, and zodiac names on outer edge.
View larger. | Heliocentric view of solar system for August 2023. Chart via Guy Ottewell. Used with permission.

Venus after sunrise in 2023 the Northern Hemisphere

The chart below – via Guy Ottewell’s 2023 Astronomical Calendar – shows the phases of Venus for the rest of 2023.

Arc of many positions of Venus, starting on left as a thin crescent and changing to a gibbous shape.
View larger. | Venus’s greatest morning elongation in 2023 from the Northern Hemisphere as viewed through a powerful telescope. Greatest elongation will come on October 23. The planet images are at the 1st, 11th and 21st of each month. Dots show the actual positions of Venus every day. Chart via Guy Ottewell’s 2023 Astronomical Calendar. Used with permission.

Bottom line: Venus went between us and the sun on August 13, 2023. Before that, throughout 2023, it had been in the evening sky. People called it the evening star. After about August 21, it’ll return to the east before dawn. Then people will call it the morning star.

August 17, 2023

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