Venus reaches peak brightness tonight

Look for our sister planet low in the southwest 30 minutes after sunset.
By | Published: September 21, 2018 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Though Venus will be the brightest planet tonight, the Full Moon is quickly approaching, which washes out the dark night sky and makes the dimmer planets more difficult to spot.
Image by Jake Parks using StarDome

Venus peaks at magnitude –4.8 this evening, shining brighter than at any other time during this evening apparition.

However, the difference is essentially imperceptible — it appears only a thousandth of a magnitude brighter today than it did yesterday or will tomorrow.

Venus lies only 5° high in the southwest a half-hour after sundown, so you’ll have to look for it from a site with an unobstructed horizon.As the inner planet swings closer to a direct line between the Sun and Earth, its telescopic appearance changes quickly.

Tonight, Venus’ disk spans 40″ and appears about one-quarter lit.