I have decided not to add any photographs in this post (but I’m going to) I was hoping I could explain to you, maybe the one or two readers I have, the wonder of this time of Venus’ synodic cycle, which is 584 days or 1.6 years. Put simply, Venus takes 225 days to orbit the Sun, Earth 365, but 584 days for Venus to lap Earth.
Please look at the table below.
Inferior conjunction is Earth/Venus/Sun in a line.
Superior conjunction is Earth/Sun/Venus in a line.
Max elongation W is when Venus is the highest it can be in the pre-dawn sky.
Max elongation E is when Venus is the highest it can be in the post-dusk sky.
The stations are an easy concept to understand but too hard for to describe here. But if you could draw a line of the planet’s position in comparison to background stars, there would be a period when the planet travels in a retrograde direction.
8 15 2015 Inferior Conj. 19:22 GMT … 22Le39
9 6 2015 Direct Station 8:30 GMT … 14Le23
10 26 2015 Max. Elong. W. 7:20 GMT … 16Vi07
6 6 2016 Superior Conj. 21:51 GMT … 16Ge36
1 12 2017 Max. Elong. E. 16:12 GMT … 9Pi48
3 4 2017 Retro. Station 9:09 GMT … 13Ar09
3 25 2017 Inferior Conj. 10:17 GMT … 4Ar57
4 15 2017 Direct Station 10:18 GMT … 26Pi55
6 3 2017 Max. Elong. W. 6:16 GMT … 27Ar03
1 9 2018 Superior Conj. 7:01 GMT … 18Cp57
8 17 2018 Max. Elong. E. 8:09 GMT … 10Li18
10 5 2018 Retro. Station 19:04 GMT … 10Sc50
10 26 2018 Inferior Conj. 14:16 GMT … 3Sc06
11 16 2018 Direct Station 10:51 GMT … 25Li14
1 6 2019 Max. Elong. W. 6:10 GMT … 28Sc45
8 14 2019 Superior Conj. 6:08 GMT … 21Le11
3 24 2020 Max. Elong. E. 7:37 GMT … 20Ta08
5 13 2020 Retro. Station 6:46 GMT … 21Ge50
Now so what, you may say. Fair enough. Well this period of Venus’ station coincides with Jupiter being high in the evening sky too. This occurred at last synodic period also, but it was about a month earlier. Now our relationship with Jupiter is pretty simple. We lap it every 399 days.
Now this is the clincher for me. You may know I am obsessed with the 3D nature of long distance photography. When I look at the stars and the planets, it is really hard for me to envisage 3D, especially at such a grand scale. But with these two planets where they are at the moment, you can. Imagine a big disc, and we are about 1/3 of the way from the middle of the disc. After the Sun sets, you see Venus which is not only closer to the Sun, but is on the same side of Sun as us, and is travelling faster than us. Higher up you see Jupiter, which is on the other side of the Sun and about 2/3 out from the disc. (Saturn is at the limit of our naked eye viewing at 3/3. So your eyes are skimming across this great distance with perception of depth. I just love it. I will get a pic later.
Now the Sun set not so long ago; the first celestial objects I spotted were Venus quickly followed by Jupiter.
Very faint but you can see them. I’ll grab another one later.
Here it is