25 December 2011

A Beautiful Evening Pairing of the Moon and Venus

The young crescent Moon will be paired up with the brilliant evening "star" Venus on Monday evening, creating a stunning visual in the sunset sky. The monthly cycle of the Moon always brings beautiful patterns as the daily travel of the Moon along the ecliptic brings it near to other objects. But when the Moon is paired with Venus, the next-brightest object in the sky, the view is riveting, especially when we have clear skies and a view to the west. I saw a similar pairing last month while traveling in Southern California, a magnificent Moon-Venus pairing in the glow of sunset to the west while out walking in the warm November air. This time, I'll be watching from the cool coast of San Francisco, but the view should be no less impressive. If skies permit, look west and enjoy this spectacle, all the more impressive if you view through binoculars or a telescope.

As the Moon passes through the Zodiac constellation Capricorn, it will also pass near Neptune on the 27th, then onward along the ecliptic into Aquarius and near Uranus on the 29th, heading toward a fly-by of Jupiter in Aries on January 1st. You'll need a telescope to see Neptune and Uranus, but not Jupiter, the other dominant object in our night sky right now.

Image courtesy Sky & Telescope Magazine.

1 comment:

Sidewalk Universe said...

This was a pretty pairing!and we'll see it again in two weeks!