Venus performs a dazzling 19-month dance as the morning and evening star. But digging into the data reveals more subtle patterns. Venus is often impos

The Hidden Patterns of Venus’s Movement across the Sky

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2023-09-15 13:30:08

Venus performs a dazzling 19-month dance as the morning and evening star. But digging into the data reveals more subtle patterns.

Venus is often impossible to miss as it shines near the Sun in the early-morning or early-evening sky. In September 2023, Venus glows brightly in the east before sunrise.

The planet dances in the sky in a way that is hard to miss. Over the course of 584 days—just over one year and seven months—it moves gracefully from the morning sky to the evening sky and back again.

Each time, however, it moves in a slightly different way, producing patterns that can only be revealed by plotting data over many thousands of years (see below).

In 2023, toward the end of August, Venus emerged from the glare of the Sun, and began a roughly seven-month reign as “the morning star.” It’s easy to spot in the eastern sky before sunrise.

A month or so later, on October 23, it reaches its farthest distance from the Sun in the morning sky. Astronomers call this the planet’s greatest elongation west.

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