There are only four bright stars that lie near the ecliptic, the path the planets, sun and moon take through the sky – Regulus (Leo), Spica (Virgo), Aldebaran (Taurus) and Antares in Scorpius. This week Venus passes the red star Antares in the evening sky. Closest approach of 1.5 degrees happens tonight.
Twilight may be too bright for skywatchers at mid-northern latitudes to spot Antares with the naked eye. Then again, it may be visible if your sky is very clear. Either way the close conjunction will be easy to see in binoculars. Aim them at Venus between 30 minutes and an hour after sunset and look for a spark of pink light to its lower left.
Observers in the tropics and southern hemisphere, where Venus is much higher in the sky, will have the naked eye advantage.
On very rare occasions, Venus can occult or pass directly in front of Antares. This last happened on September 17, 525 B.C. and will happen again November 17, 2400. I’ll take tonight’s pass as the next best thing and imagine the rest.
If you have a small telescope, take a minute and point it at Venus. The planet has been steadily approaching Earth, growing in size and changing its phase (like the moon) over the past few months. This week it looks like a waxing moon a couple days past half.