Venus swung to superior conjunction on March 26, 2021, entering the twilight sky. On October 29, 2021, Venus will achieve its highest eastern (evening) elongation (half Venus). UCLA provided the image. On April 19, 2021, Mercury will cross into the evening sky (at superior conjunction). It will be visible after sunset in the west just above the horizon until dawn when it climbs higher into the sky.
The best time to see Venus is when it is high in the morning or late in the evening skies. When it's close to the Sun, it appears bright and yellow-white in color. But even at its closest approach, it's still more than 100 million miles away. The Sun is much closer than that!
Even though it's the brightest object in the night sky, you need a telescope to see any detail on Venus. The solar system's second planet makes a rare appearance every 8 months8 when it passes between Earth and the Sun. At this time it is fully illuminated by sunlight from both the east and west, showing up as gold-yellow against dark space.
At first glance, Venus seems to hover above the horizon as it crosses the sky from east to west. But it's actually dropping down toward the Earth because it's being pulled by our planet's gravity.
Over time, Venus' orbit changes as well-known planets do.
Venus usually goes behind the Sun around seven months after attaining its highest prominence in the morning sky. It does not return to the evening sky for around a year after it vanishes from the morning sky. Venus's greatest separation from the Sun at each apparition is roughly 48 degrees.
When Venus is high in the east during morning twilight, it is covered by the Sun's disk but becomes visible again when the Sun has moved westward toward the zenith. At noon, when it is directly overhead, only a small part of Venus is illuminated. But as night falls, it again becomes visible until finally disappearing beneath the horizon just as dawn breaks.
The next time Venus will reappear in the morning sky is on May 5, 2025. It won't be visible in the daytime sky until June 4th, 2026.
Venus radiates with a steady, silvery brightness and is constantly beautiful. From January 1 to 23, it may be seen in the eastern sky at sunrise. From May 24 to December 31, it may be seen in the western sky around night. During these periods, it's visible all night long if you know where to look.
It's important to remember that viewing Venus as it moves across the face of the Earth requires a telescope or other optical device. Without such a tool, you'll never see more than a small dot of light against the night sky.
You can see Venus right now with the naked eye on a clear night away from lights. Look toward the east after midnight for its rising red glow.
You need a telescope to see any detail on Venus apart from its general shape. With a large enough telescope, you can make out features on its surface such as mountains and valleys. But even then, Venus' atmosphere blocks most of this information from reaching Earth's surface.