Venus reflected in the Pacific Ocean. Brocken Inaglory / CC BY-SA 3.0
Venus played the part of night light this spring and summer, shining every evening in the western sky. But in the past few weeks it’s drawn closer and closer to the sun until it’s now lost in the solar glare. Farewell friendly planet.
We’ve talked about conjunctions before in the context of the moon being “in conjunction” with a bright planet. You probably saw at least one these pairings over the summer when Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus stood like pinball targets across the southern sky.
As Venus plies its 225 day orbit, it passes between the Earth and sun (inferior conjunction) and around the opposite side of the sun in superior conjunction. Because of its ever-changing angle to the sun Venus shows phases just like the moon. At inferior conjunction, it’s a thin crescent and closest to the Earth. Bob King
Planets can also be in conjunction with the sun, too. And as you’d guess, those conjunctions aren’t visible because they only happen in daylight. Venus will be in conjunction with the sun tomorrow (Oct. 26), when it slides just 6° to its south at closest approach. ...