Star Gazing: Why is Venus So Bright Right Now?

Jennifer Geer

If you're up before sunrise, be sure to glance up towards the east for a glimpse of bright and beautiful Venus.
Photo byNASAonUnsplash

(CHICAGO) Early morning risers may have noticed a shining bright star in the eastern sky appearing before dawn. It's actually not a star, but the planet Venus.

The planet is so vivid and bright, it's hard to miss. Look for it near the eastern horizon, rising around 3:30 AM local time during September.

According to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, the planet's brightness will peak on the morning of September 19 with a -4.5 magnitude. That will make it 23 times brighter than the brightest star, Sirius, and seven times brighter than Jupiter (the second brightest planet.)

Venus is a small rocky planet, but it appears bright in our sky because it is so close to the Earth.

What else is happening in the skies this month?

Don't miss the spectacular phenomenon of Chicagohenge, when the sunrise and sunset align perfectly with Chicago's east-west grid system. Look for Chicagohenge this fall from September 20 through September 23.

And finally, the full harvest supermoon will rise on September 29. It's the fourth consecutive and last supermoon of the year. A supermoon is when the moon's orbit is closest to the Earth when it is full. It makes for a gorgeous full moon in the sky.


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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area.

Chicago, IL

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