Backyard Observatory

Venus Will Be the Brightest It’ll Be All Year on April 27

Venus has been visible in the night sky all month long. Now, our neighboring planet's about to look even more spectacular.

Venus bright
Venus and the waning crescent Moon rise above the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City on Jan. 31, 2019. | NASA/Bill Dunford
Venus and the waning crescent Moon rise above the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City on Jan. 31, 2019. | NASA/Bill Dunford

Venus is the brightest natural object in our sky after the moon and the sun. If you've looked out the window or enjoyed the spring air after sunset over the last month-plus, you've probably seen it, even if you didn't know you were seeing it. Early in the evening, it's been radiant in the western sky. It even spent a little time hanging around the crescent moon late in March. 

Maybe you thought it looked extra spectacular when glimpsed casually. Well, that's not just your imagination running wild after two months largely spent inside your own home. We're slowly approaching the night when Venus will be the brightest it's going to be in 2020. That moment arrives the night of April 27, right around 9pm EST.

That evening, the planet hits its greatest illuminated extent, a fancy way of saying its really damn bright. This is the juncture when "the illuminated portion of Venus covers the greatest square area of the sky's dome," writes EarthSky. When it's at its brightest for the year, Venus is almost three times as bright as it is when it's at its dimmest.

To find the planet without an app, look to the west after sunset no matter where you are. It'll be the brilliantly illuminated "star." If you have clear weather, it'll be hard to miss.

When can you see Venus?

Venus popped back into view for us on August 14, 2019. It's been a long run, but like Sean Bean on your favorite fantasy show, our time together will soon come to an end. There's about one month left of finding the planet hanging out low in the western sky. It'll stop appearing for a while on June 3, 2020, per EarthSky. But it's never gone for long, just like Sean Bean. He's always going to come back on another show. Don't worry.

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. 

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.