Today Venus reaches the point in its orbit called greatest western elongation. As this graphic shows the inner planet Venus, or Mercury, is more or less at a right angle (90o) from the Sun and Earth at western elongation. From the surface of the Earth, your backyard, for example, Venus is to the right, or western side of the Sun and is rising before the Sun.
Click on graphic to see it full size.
At western elongation Venus, or for that matter Mercury the other inner planet, is as far out from the Sun
as we see them and as a result Venus or Mercury will rise at the latest time in this orbit. Today Venus will be 46.6o
from the Sun. From western elongation forward Venus or Mercury will be moving eastward toward the Sun and each day rising closer and closer to the time of sunrise. As the planet moves eastward it is moving further away from the Earth toward superior conjunction on the opposite side of the Sun. As the distance between the Earth and Venus, or Mercury, increases combined with the decreasing angle between the planet, the Earth, and the Sun, Venus or Mercury decreases in apparent size and also waxes through gibbous phase shapes but we never see it at a full phase since that is at superior conjunction.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.