After a prominent evening apparition, the bright planet VENUS is sinking toward the western horizon, as seen in the evenings after sunset. After appearing as the “Evening Star” since wintertime, Venus will vanish into the sunset and be lost in the Sun’s glare for about a week. After that it will emerge from the sunrise, becoming visible as the “Morning Star” for the remainder of 2020.

Whenever Venus is closely aligned in front of the Sun (like now), Venus appears in a crescent phase, just like the Moon. Some eagle-eyed skywatchers claim to see the “horns” of the crescent planet with their unaided eyes! The rest of us need binoculars to spot this crescent shape of Venus.

Be sure to steady your binocs, or else the image will shake around and you’ll have a hard time seeing anything. Lean the binocs against a building or other stationary object to hold a steady image. Ideally, use a tripod or other mounting if you have one.

As a special treat, the waxing crescent Moon will make its monthly pass with Venus on the evening of Saturday, May 23, 2020. This will not be a close conjunction as seen from the USA, but it’s the last evening conjunction with this pair for 2020. The Moon and Venus will not align again until after Venus emerges from the sunrise, visible on the morning of June 19. After that, there will only be morning conjunctions of the Moon and Venus through 2021. So make it a point to catch this if you can! (Clear skies permitting, as always.)

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

  • Share on social media