"Venus Makes a Spectacular Exit and Entrance!"

Scheduled air date: 2001 Mar 05-11

During the month of March, the planet Venus will appear lower in the sky each evening as it nears inferior conjunction—when it passes between us and the Sun.  This will mark the end of its current appearance as the "Evening Star," and the beginning of its next appearance as the "Morning Star."
In fact, because Venus will pass far north of the Sun during this particular conjunction, for a few days near the end of this month Northern-hemisphere viewers with a low horizon will be able to see Venus in the mornings and evenings!  This won't happen again until eight years—and five inferior conjunctions—from now.
(Shown for mid-Northern latitudes.)

Click on the above image to see an animated QuickTime® presentation! (518 KB)

As Venus approaches Earth, it grows in apparent size.  Because it is closer to the Sun, however, we see an increasingly thinner crescent.

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.

Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

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