Venus as the 2016-17 Evening Star

Panorama of the western sky with Venus and the Moon as seen from Chicago 30 minutes after sunset from 2016 JUL 02 to 2017 MAR 22 - See article below.

Venus - Elongations & Altitudes - 2016-17

The planet’s elongations from the Sun and altitudes above the horizon as viewed from latitude N 42°

Phases of Venus

Bipolar diagram illustrating the phases of Venus as viewed from Earth through a telescope while Venus orbits the Sun and laps the Earth every 1.6 years

Pentagram of Venus

Diagram of the orbits of Venus and Earth showing how the positions at six successive inferior conjunctions can be connected to draw a pentagram (five-pointed star shape)

Venus 01 Venus 02 Venus 03 Venus 04 Venus 05 Venus 06 Venus 07


Venus is presenting its apparition as the brilliant Evening Star in the western sky after sunset following its superior conjunction behind the Sun on 2016 JUN 06. For observers north of the tropics significant daily shifts upward from the post-sunset southwestern horizon are now underway.

   Venus’ Greatest Eastern Elongation from the Sun of 47.1° will occur on 2017 JAN 12. Through a telescope around  JAN 14 it will appear in dichotomy, i.e. 50% illuminated like a Half Moon. Prior to that it will appear gibbous and afterward as a crescent. By the standard of 30 minutes after sunset for Chicago, Venus will achieve its highest altitude of 35.3° on FEB 01. It will commence apparent retrograde motion in right ascension on FEB 03. Greatest brilliance at magnitude -4.6 is expected around FEB 16. Venus will then fall to inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun on MAR 25.

   Venus will appear near other bright planets and stars on the following dates: Mars 2017 FEB 01, Mercury MAR 18.

   The Moon will appear near Venus on 2017 JAN 01, JAN 31, FEB 28. There will be no lunar occultations of Venus during this apparition.

NOTE: Event dates in this article are for North American Central Time at those moments nearest to 30 minutes after sunset for Chicago.

Venus Angular Diameter - 2016-17

Graph of the apparent angular diameter of Venus measured in arcseconds  -  Distance in AU = 16.82 / angular diameter

Venus Illumination Phase - 2016-17

Graph of the percentage of Venus’ apparent disk illuminated

Venus Stellar Magnitude - 2016-17

Graph of the brightness of Venus measured in stellar magnitude

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© Curt Renz