How to Locate Venus in the Night Sky

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Locating the planet Venus in the night sky is usually not difficult. Venus is the closest planet to Earth, and it resides between the Earth and the sun. Therefore, after the moon, Venus is the brightest body in the night sky. Known as "the morning star" when seen just before sunrise in the eastern sky and "the evening star" when seen in the western sky at twilight, Venus is most easily seen during its cycles of moving farther away from the sun.

    Situate yourself in a dark location with an open view of the night sky, preferably away from city illumination.

    Depending on the time of day you are viewing the sky, you will view either the western or eastern horizon. Since Venus is closer to the sun than is Earth, it helps to imagine that Venus is following the sun; so in the evening, Venus is in the west following the setting sun, and in the morning, it's in the east running ahead of the sun.

    In the evening, Venus should be visible in the western sky for approximately 3 hours after sunset. Toward morning, Venus should be visible in the eastern sky for approximately 3 hours before sunrise.

    Venus will always appear brighter than any other star or planet. Once Venus is located with the naked eye, the planet may be viewed through either powerful binoculars or a telescope. Seen through a telescope, Venus may be seen in phases, similar to the moon (from full to crescent), depending on its position in relation to the sun.

    Venus will also appear brighter, and larger, when closer to Earth.


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