Venus Will Be Brighter Thursday Night Than Any Other Night This Year. Here's How to See It.
It'll be also hanging out with the bright red giant star Aldebaran.
Venus has once again become the morning star, lighting up our pre-dawn skies. However, it's going to take that title to a new level on July 10 when it reaches its greatest illuminated extent. (No, that's not a euphemism for peaking during your 15 minutes of fame.)
The stunningly bright planet will shine brighter in the morning sky on Friday than it will at any other point in the year. Earth's sister planet is the second brightest night-sky object -- the brightest is, of course, the moon -- making it easy to spot in the eastern sky every morning. (At least, for now.) It's shining about two and half times brighter at its greatest illuminated extent than when it is at its faintest, per EarthSky.
Due to the planet's position toward the sun from Earth, it has phases like the moon from our perspective. Despite its apparent brightness, the majority of the planet's day side is facing away from us, making Venus a slim crescent. You can see that crescent if you take a look through a telescope. When the day side is in more fully in view, Venus is further away. This makes the planet's greatest illuminated extent a combination of its distance from Earth and its phase.
Additionally, the planet will be sitting near the red giant star Aldebaran, the glimmering eye and brightest star in the constellation Taurus the Bull. They'll be just one degree apart from each other the mornings of July 11, 12, and 13, per Space.com. Look for them both before sunrise, though you'll be able to see Venus anytime following its rise just after 3am EST, according to Time and Date's planet guide. Plus, unlike, say, a meteor shower, you don't have to get out of the city to see Venus at the moment. It's so bright that it overcomes light pollution. Some people might even see it for a short while after the sun rises.
Put some clothes on (or don't, I guess, your choice) and get outside, because Venus' orbit is taking it further away from Earth. It'll be a while before it's this bright again.