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More Moon and Venus

February 28, 2011

The most beautiful of all astronomical duos puts on a beautiful showing in the dawn sky tomorrow: the crescent Moon and the planet Venus. They're quite low in the southeastern sky as daylight begins to break, with Venus -- the "morning star" -- close to the upper right of the Moon.

Both are so bright that they remain easily visible as twilight begins to paint the sky with its shades of blue, then red, then orange. And if you look carefully, you can even find them in full daylight.

From here in the United States, they arc fairly low across the south, never climbing much more than about a third of the way up the sky.

They're to the right or upper right of the Sun during the morning hours, and to the lower right during early afternoon. They're separated from the Sun by about four times the width of your fist held at arm's length. The Moon is such a thin crescent that it's hard to pluck from the blue sky. Once you find it, though, you shouldn't have much trouble coming back to it.

Venus leads the Moon across the sky, so it's to the Moon's right during the morning, and lower right in the afternoon. Scan that region of the sky carefully for a bright point of light. It's tough to pick out, so you might want to use binoculars to find it. But like the Moon, after you spot it, you may wonder why it took you so long to find it in the first place.

Venus sets first, around 2:30 or 3, with the Moon following about 45 minutes later.


Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2010


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