Venus is returning to the evening sky and can be found close to the considerably dimmer planet Saturn towards the end of the month.

Advertisement

The best time to see Venus and Saturn together in the evening sky will be 20–25 January, an hour after sunset.

Saturn’s observing window is closing as it appears closer to the Sun, but with the naked eye and some clear skies it can still be seen at the end of January just as the skies start to darken in the evenings.

View of Venus and Saturn through 7x50 binoculars on 22 January 18:00 UT. Credit: Pete Lawrence
View of Venus and Saturn through 7x50 binoculars on 22 January 18:00 UT. Credit: Pete Lawrence

The best time to start looking is 20 January.

Approximately one hour after sunset, look for Venus 6° above the southwest horizon.

Although low, mag. –3.8 Venus should be easily visible. Saturn appears 2.5° above and left of Venus as seen from the UK.

On 21 January, the gap closes to 1.4°, with Venus appearing a little higher than it did on 20 January, now 7° above the southwest horizon after sunset.

The evening of 22 January has the real treat. If skies are clear, Venus and Saturn will appear just 24 arcminutes apart.

At this time mag. –3.8 Venus shines 70x brighter than mag. +0.8 Saturn.

See the Moon, Venus and Saturn close together in the sky on Monday 23 January 2023. This illustration shows the view through 7x50 binoculars.
See the Moon, Venus and Saturn close together in the sky on Monday 23 January 2023. This illustration shows the view through 7x50 binoculars.

On the evening of 23 January, although separating to appear 59 arcminutes apart, a 5%-lit waning crescent Moon appears 5.1° to the left of Venus as seen from the UK.

Advertisement

Given clear skies, this is a definite invitation for a photo!

Authors

Pete Lawrence, astronomer and BBC The Sky at Night presenter.
Pete LawrenceAstronomer and presenter

Pete Lawrence is an experienced astronomer and astrophotographer, and a presenter on BBC's The Sky at Night.