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Friday, May 29, 2015

Earthsky Tonight — Young crescent moon above Venus

Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science

March 17

Our sky chart shows the waxing crescent moon and the blazing planet Venus for about 45 minutes after sunset (at mid-northern latitudes in North America). Venus sets a bit more than one hour after the sun, and tonight’s moon sets over two hours after sunset.

Yesterday, at this time, the young moon was much closer to the western horizon, shining pretty much side by side with Venus. Tonight, the moon appears considerably higher in the sky, almost straight up of where the moon was one day ago. Tomorrow evening, you will see a somewhat wider lunar crescent at an even greater distance above Venus.

On the average, the moon travels 13 degrees eastward of the sun daily, but at this time of year – around the March 20 spring equinox – the waxing moon climbs almost straight upward from night to night. That is because the ecliptic – the pathway of the sun, moon and planets – circles almost straight over our heads on these near-spring evenings. At nightfall on March 23, you will see the moon as high up as the noonday summer solstice sun.

Near the September equinox, the waxing moon travels more in a sideways than an upward direction from day to day.

Written by Bruce McClure

Other Links:

Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA/JPL

Sky and Telescope

National Geographic

Space Com

Amazing Space

The York County Astronomical Society

Scope City

James S McDonnell Planitarium