Though Venus was at its greatest eastern elongation (angle from the Sun) back on June 6, and has since then been falling gradually toward the Sun and lower in the evening sky, it has also been getting slightly brighter. Its little shape in the telescope, growing slenderer but longer as it curves in between us and the Sun, shows largest in area (the “greatest illuminated extent,” explained earlier) on July 10. And today, July 12, its total brightness reaches a soft peak.
Venus is now about 10 degrees lower in the sunset sky than it was on June 6. Its sunward fall is picking up speed. A clearer (or not?) way of expressing this might be that its failure to keep ahead of the Sun is growing.
On July 15 it will show at a minimum distance (2.4 degrees) from Regulus – an “appulse” – but because of its curving-back path in the sky it will never quite reach a position due south of the star, that is, have a “conjunction in right ascension” with it.