Solar System Phenomena — 2022 Apparitions of the Inferior Planets from Latitude 10° North

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 10° north. 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 appears at dawn three times and at dusk four.

22 November2021superior conjunction
07 January2022greatest elongation east: 19.2°
23 Januaryinferior conjunction
16 Februarygreatest elongation west: 26.3°
02 Aprilsuperior conjunction
29 Aprilgreatest elongation east: 20.6°
21 Mayinferior conjunction
16 Junegreatest elongation west: 23.2°
16 Julysuperior conjunction
27 Augustgreatest elongation east: 27.3°
23 Septemberinferior conjunction
08 Octobergreatest elongation west: 18.0°
08 Novembersuperior conjunction: anti-transit
21 Decembergreatest elongation east: 20.1°
07 January2023inferior conjunction

The morning apparitions of Mercury in 2022 as seen from latitude 10° north.

First is best as Mercury zooms as high as 22.1° during the months of January, February and March (blue track). The next morning apparition between late May and mid-July (pink track) is nearly as good, with the tiny planet getting to an altitude of 20.7° by mid-June. The final morning appearance between late September and early November (green track) is the poorest for observers at this latitude but Mercury still manages a respectable height of 16.4° in the first part of October.

The evening apparitions of Mercury in 2022 as seen from latitude 10° north.

The first evening apparition of Mercury (blue track) occurs in January and finishes the apparition that began last year. This is the worst western appearance of the tiny planet but it still manages an altitude of 18.3°. Mercury reappears in the evening skies during the months of April and May (pink track), rising to an even more impressive 19.0° late in April. However, the best evening apparition at this latitude occurs between mid-July and mid-September (green track) when Mercury climaxes at an altitude 21.2°. Mercury's final evening show begins in mid-November (orange track) with the planet rising as high as 18.7° before ending the year at a height of 13.0° above the western horizon.


Venus spends nearly the entire year as the morning star.

26 March2021superior conjunction
29 Octobergreatest elongation east: 47.0°
09 January2022inferior conjunction
20 Marchgreatest elongation west: 46.6°
22 Octobersuperior conjunction
04 June2023greatest elongation east: 45.4°

The morning apparitions of Venus in 2022 as seen from latitude 10° north.

Venus rules the eastern horizon at dawn for most of the year, rapidly ascending in January and Feburary and reaching a maximum altitude of 38.7° in early March. A slow decline follows for the next four months followed by a quick drop in height. The morning star finally vanishes in mid-October.

The evening apparitions of Venus in 2022 as seen from latitude 10° north.

Venus continues last year's evening apparition (blue track) for the first few days of 2022, soon plummeting below the western horizon. The evening star returns for the last two months of the year (pink track) which is the start of an even better evening apparition than last year's.


The dates, times and circumstances of all planetary and lunar phenomena were calculated from the JPL DE406 solar system ephemeris using the same rigorous methods that are employed in the compilation of publications such as The Astronomical Almanac.