This week in the sky, Venus will reach its greatest illuminated extent on Tuesday, April 28th.
Venus has been shining bright in our west sky for a few months now, but this week the planet will be three times brighter than it was a few months ago.
This is because Venus will be at its greatest illuminated extent. What does this mean? Venus goes through phases, just like our moon. You may think when Venus is at its “full phase” it will be the brightest, but that’s not true.
When taking into account the positioning of the sun, Earth, and Venus, as well as angles and timing, Venus is brightest when its in a crescent phase from our view point. This only about 25% illumination!
Look in the west sky just after the sun sets this week to see Venus shining its best. Specifically, on Tuesday, April 28th at 9 p.m. EDT, Venus reaches its greatest illuminated extent. Venus will set around 11 p.m. EDT.
Thanks to earthsky.org for help writing this blog!
Featured image courtesy NASA