Tomorrow morning, you can see what I consider the prettiest pairing of celestial objects: the crescent moon and Venus. They’re the two brightest objects in the night sky, and when seen together, they always make a beautiful sight. I would get out of bed for this, but I know better. Rain is forecast throughout the day and overnight. I hope your sky will rain only stars.
Venus has phases exactly like the moon’s but because the planet’s many millions of miles away, we need binoculars or a small telescope to see them. When a thin crescent, Venus is closest to Earth and binoculars suffice. But as its distance increases, as it has been since the start of spring, the planet appears to shrink and a telescope becomes necessary. Nothing fancy. Even a Walmart scope will do the job (you didn’t hear me say that 😉
Venus has been filling out since March and now appears 42% illuminated or 8% shy of half. So it’s a crescent, too, only a much thicker one than its neighbor, the moon. It should be at half around June 3 reach full phase in early January 2018, when it’s located on the opposite side of the sun from Earth and at its most distant.
If you plan to see the pair, know that the International Space Station (ISS) has been making morning passes right around the same time from many locations across the northern hemisphere. Check Spaceweather Flybys or Heavens Above for times for your town.