Feel like starting your day under the influence … of the cosmos? If you’re up early tomorrow, take a look to the southeast before sunrise. You’ll be greeted by the beautiful sight of Venus and the crescent moon paired up against dawn’s pink glow.
For some the duo will gleam over a snowy landscape, for others it could be a tropical ocean. But if you live in West Africa, the timing and location are just right for the moon to occult or cover Venus.
The planet will disappear along the moon’s bright limb and then reappear about an hour later along the dark, earth-lit portion. The appearance of the brilliant planet poking out from behind the dark moon will make a striking sight at dawn.
Observers there may even attempt to see the mysterious Ashen Light, a controversial glow in Venus’ dark hemisphere that may or may not be real. The best time to try for it – again, if you happen to be in equatorial Africa – is when the bright Venusian crescent is still hidden by the moon with its dark hemisphere poking over the edge.
On the easier and less controversial side, the moon will make Venus incredibly easy to spot in daylight.
For the Americas, Venus and the moon will have put 4 degrees (8 moon diameters) of sky between them by the time they rise. Still, if you pay attention to where Venus is in relation to the moon when it’s easy to spot before sunrise, you might succeed in finding the planet in the daytime too. Good luck!