Sunday Venus Moon Conjunction Will Be A Beauty

The moon and Venus pair up tomorrow evening low in the western sky. Start looking about 15 minutes after sunset. Stellarium

Have you seen Venus yet? It’s our only easily visible bright planet in the evening sky. Too bad it sets so soon. Once dusk is done, we’re left with dim Uranus and Neptune until after midnight when Jupiter finally joins the clan. While Saturn is technically an evening planet, it hardly counts. By the time it gets dark enough to see from mid-northern latitudes, it’s close to setting.

Venus is visible low in the west-southwest sky during early evening twilight. Credit: Bob King

Venus is about a fist high in the west-southwest 15 minutes after sunset. You can go out tonight and find the planet shining bright and alone above treeline and hilltop. Tomorrow night Sept. 8 the 3-day thin crescent moon will join Venus in a beautiful, close conjunction. As yellow mellows to red on the western horizon the moon will pass only a couple degrees to the left or east of the planet seen from the Americas. Europeans will see the moon just below Venus.

Venus hangs near the horizon for the remainder of the year, taking its sweet time to climb into better view. On the 17th and 18th Saturn glides above Venus in yet another conjunction. For that you’ll need binoculars, but tomorrow night’s show will require only an open view to the west and a pair of eyes.

14 Responses

  1. caralex

    Will Venus sink even lower before it gets higher, Bob? After all, it’s only in Virgo. It still has to get to Sagittarius! Which constellation will it be in when it gets to max. eastern elongation in November?

    1. astrobob

      Venus should remain at near constant altitude as it sinks toward Sagittarius thanks to the earlier sunset times through the fall. Only in December, before it goes bye-bye into the morning sky, will it be noticeably higher than it is now.

      1. caralex

        Thanks Bob. It’s not really a great evening apparition this year, is it? Some evenings I’ve missed it completely as it sets so early. Hope it’s better placed next evening apparition!

  2. Giorgio Rizzarelli

    Hi Bob, yesterday’s Moon-Venus was an occultation in South America. A friend of mine there shot a great sequence of the entire event. Check my Facebook wall 🙂

    1. Giorgio Rizzarelli

      PS Precisely (I must correct myself), Moon-Venus was visible as occultation only in some parts of South America, like Argentina and Chile, but not in Rio for example. The friend of mine which shot it lives in Buenos Aires. There are a few photos on Spaceweather as well, shot in the same city, for example these taken at a big gathering for the event. Enjoy!

  3. Amanda

    Some time ago I took a series of pictures of the moon it was so bright that I just had to capture it. On looking back I noticed that from being a perfect full circle, it had started to change shape almost like a kidney shape. I have since zoomed in on these pictures and noticed a faint circle next to the moon in the distance; almost like it’s reflection. I am not clued up on anything astronomical and so dismissed it. On closer inspection of the kidney shaped picture though, the faint shape also starts to mimic the moon and elongates as though reflecting the shape of the kidney. Very bizarre but it has baffled me for a long time. I still have these pictures and view them often to try to make sense of the. Could you enlighten me?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Amanda,
      First, I love your description of the gibbous moon as “kidney-bean” shaped. What you’re seeing is an internal reflection of the moon (sometimes these show upside down) caused by light bouncing around inside the lenses of your camera. Because it’s not direct but reflected moonlight, these internal reflections are fainter.

    1. astrobob

      That’s an out of focus images of the planet Venus. Both still and video cameras have great difficulty focusing on point-like objects in dark or dawn sky, so they will either over or underfocus, turning stars and planets into out of focus disks.

    2. BCstargazer

      Three of the four terms in the title of the video alone are the chuckle(s) of the day, especially following the blog entry describing exactly what is the morning sky.
      thank you Bob.
      and good luck to all of the good people in Reno…

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