See the bright 'evening star' Venus swing by the crescent moon tonight

You can see Venus and the moon in the "horns" of Taurus, the bull, on April 26, 2020.  (Image credit: SkySafari app)

The bright "evening star" Venus will be hard to miss this week, as the planet reaches its greatest brightness of the year on Tuesday (April 28). But first the planet will make a close approach to the crescent moon. 

Today (April 26) the waxing crescent moon will be in conjunction with Venus, meaning the objects share the same celestial longitude and will appear close together in the sky. 

The moment of conjunction occurs at 11:23 a.m. EDT (1523 GMT), and you can spot them above the southwestern horizon after sunset. The moon will be about 6 degrees south of Venus in the constellation of Taurus, the bull

Related: April is the month of Venus! See the 'evening star' at its brightest

During the conjunction of the moon and Venus on Sunday (April 26), comet C/2019 Y4 Atlas will be nearby in the constellation Camelopardalis. The comet is visible in telescopes and high-power binoculars, but not to the naked eye.  (Image credit: SkySafari app)

Although the conjunction occurs during the daytime, when most celestial objects are rendered invisible by sunlight, Venus is so bright that you can actually see it in broad daylight — if you know where to look. But the pair will be much easier to see once the dusk fades. Venus, which rises a couple hours after sunrise, will set tonight at 11:28 p.m. local time in New York City, just four minutes before the moon sets, according to

After its close encounter with the moon tonight, Venus will continue to grow even brighter for the next two days until it reaches its greatest brightness of the year on Tuesday (April 28). 

On April 28, Venus will achieve its "greatest illuminated extent" for this year's evening apparition. That terminology describes the optimum combination of the approaching planet's apparent disk size (38 arc seconds) and its illuminated phase. That evening, Venus will shine at a spectacular magnitude –4.73. Its 27% illuminated crescent phase (inset) will be apparent in any telescope or spotting scope, good binoculars — or even to very sharp, unaided eyes. (Image credit: Starry Night)

At its brightest, the planet will be shining at a magnitude of -4.7. (Magnitude is a measurement of brightness used by astronomers, with lower numbers denoting brighter objects. Negative numbers denote exceptionally bright objects.) 

Venus is currently the second-brightest object in the night sky, second only to the moon. On Tuesday night the planet will appear to shine more than nine times brighter than its brightest planetary competitor, Jupiter, and it will outshine Sirius, the brightest star in Earth's night sky, by at least 20-fold. 

After this week, the bright "evening star" will slowly start to dim again before the planet disappears in the sun's glare at the end of May. It will reappear in early June as a "morning star." 

Email Hanneke Weitering at or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

OFFER: Save 45% on 'All About Space' 'How it Works' and 'All About History'!

OFFER: Save 45% on 'All About Space' 'How it Works' and 'All About History'!

For a limited time, you can take out a digital subscription to any of our best-selling science magazines for just $2.38 per month, or 45% off the standard price for the first three months.

Hanneke Weitering
Associate Editor,

Hanneke Weitering is an editor at Liv Science's sister site with 10 years of experience in science journalism. She has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy.