2024 Apparitions of the Inferior Planets from Latitude 30° South

What is an Apparition?

An apparition of a planet is the period during which it is visible, beginning and ending with solar conjunction. In the cases of the inferior planets Mercury and Venus, it is the time between inferior and superior conjunction (morning apparition) and the time between superior and inferior conjunction (evening apparition). Because inferior planets are always near the Sun, they only appear in the east before sunrise and the west after sunset.

Below are a series of diagrams showing the morning and evening apparitions of Mercury and Venus as observed from latitude 30° south. The planet is shown on the 1st, 6th, 11th, 16th, 21st and 26th days of each month with the current year's positions shown in bright white. The path may extend from the previous year or into the next.


Mercury undergoes several morning and evening apparitions every year. Morning apparitions occur between inferior conjunction (when the planet is at its dimmest) and superior conjunction (when the planet is at its brightest) whereas evening apparitions always start bright and end with the planet around sixth magnitude. This year, Mercury begins and ends the year at dawn, appearing four times in the east, and showing itself in the evening three times.

The morning apparitions of Mercury in 2024 as seen from latitude 30° south.

The last morning apparition of 2023 segues into the first 2024 appearance of Mercury in the east (blue track). The tiny planet is still gaining altitude, eventually reaching a maximum height of 20.2° in the middle of January. The second apparition is the best morning appearance for this latitude. From mid-April to mid-June (pink track), Mercury climbs to an impressive 25.3°. However, the following apparition in August and September (green track) is poor, with Mercury barely cresting 10° above the eastern horizon. The final apparition (orange track) is just getting underway as the year ends.

The evening apparitions of Mercury in 2024 as seen from latitude 30° south.

The first evening apparition between late February and early April (blue track) is disappointing, with Mercury falling well short of even 10° above the western horizon. However, this is followed by the tiny planet's best appearance at sunset. Between mid-June and mid-August (pink track), Mercury soars to nearly 25° in the west-northwest. The final evening apparition of the year begins in October and ends in early December (green track), with Mercury reaching an altitude of 21.3° in the west-southwest in mid-November.


Venus is the morning star as the year opens, passing into the western sky in early June where it remains until late-March 2025.

The morning apparitions of Venus in 2024 as seen from latitude 30° south.

Venus continues its morning apparition still climbing above the eastern horizon. It finally reaches an altitude of 30.3° in early January before declining in height, slowly at first and then faster and faster. The morning star dips below the horizon around the time of superior conjunction in early June.

The evening apparitions of Venus in 2024 as seen from latitude 30° south.

The evening apparition of Venus is superior to the preceding morning appearance. The evening star reappears in mid-June and climbs to a maximum height of 39.3  at the end of November before heading back toward the western horizon and eventually inferior conjunction next year.