Sunday, May 16, 2010

Venus and the Crescent Moon: May 15, 2010

Sharp-eyed observers with clear skies and a good view of the western sky may catch a thin lunar crescent a few degrees to the lower right of Venus this evening. Best views will be about a half hour to an hour after local sunset. Face the west-northwestern horizon. If the sky is clear and you have an unhampered view, Venus will be un-missable! The thin crescent moon is below and to the right.

Because the moon and planets share a similar apparent path in the sky, it is not unusual for the moon to appear to pass close to Venus. In fact, the moon appears somewhere near it about once a month. However, most people don’t see these events because they are visible in the evening sky only half the time, and then only for a short period after sunset. The other half occur shortly before dawn, which obviously cuts down the number of people who are outside observing! The apparent closeness varies from month to month as well.

Picture: Abe Megahead, Madison, WI