You Can Catch a Glimpse of Venus at Its Brightest in February

shaunl/Getty Images
shaunl/Getty Images / shaunl/Getty Images

If you've ever noticed a large, bright star over the horizon just after sunset or before sunrise, you've likely spotted Venus. Nicknamed the evening or morning star, Venus is by far the brightest planet visible from our own. The second planet from the sun is easy to view most nights of the year, and in early February it will appear even more dazzling than usual.

As EarthSky reports, Venus reaches peak brightness on February 9, 2022. That's when the sun will illuminate the greatest portion of the planet visible to Earth in the night sky. If you look toward the eastern horizon on this date, you'll catch the planet at its most brilliant.

Why Venus Will Be at Peak Brightness

Like the moon, Venus moves through phases of illumination. On February 9, the planet will be only 25 percent illuminated (its crescent phase) despite reflecting as much light as it ever does down to Earth. This is because Venus's peak brightness correlates to how much of its illuminated surface is visible from Earth. When the planet is in its crescent phase, its lit side takes up more real estate in the sky.

To see Venus at maximum brightness, step outside before sunrise on Wednesday, February 9. The morning star will appear low in the east before dawn washes out the sky. You may have trouble dragging yourself out of bed that early, but this event is worth setting an early alarm. Venus won't be this bright again until July 2023.

[h/t EarthSky]