Eclipse Preview: Sliver Moon And Venus Pair Up At Dawn

The thin, waning moon with earthshine illuminating the remainder will greet skywatchers tomorrow morning in the eastern sky at dawn. Created with Stellarium

We talk so much about the sun in eclipse, it’s easy to forget the moon will be at center stage on Monday. After all, during totality, we won’t see the sun. Instead we’ll be facing the new moon! No sunlight will touch the face of the moon visible from Earth, but from the perspective of someone standing on the moon and looking back, they’d see a Full Earth. Full Earth casts a lot of light, the reason that properly exposed photos of the sun during eclipse actually show details on the moon including the large dark spots called lunar seas.

In this photo showing the sun’s corona during total eclipse, you can see dimly see the face of the moon illuminated by sunlight reflecting off the Earth. Credit: Miloslav Druckmuller / SWNS

Before any of this happens, the moon has one last appointment to keep. Tomorrow morning (Aug. 19), it will shine as a thin, waning crescent about 5° southeast of the planet Venus at dawn. Beautiful! Let it serve as a good omen for all of us hoping for a clear sky — or a least a few well-placed clearings — on eclipse day.

Stay calm and be safe in your travels.

9 Responses

  1. Justin

    Thank you so much for all of the great info. As an amateur to viewing the night sky (but one who is infinitely amazed) I have really learned a lot from your website. You provide excellent information in an easy to understand manner. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts and I appreciate the love and dedication that are evident in all of your writings. Thank you for expanding my knowledge and appreciation of the night sky.

    1. astrobob

      Thank you so much for you kind comment, Justin. It makes me happy knowing that the blog has helped you expand your knowledge of the night sky. I love the night, and sharing it with people like you is one of my joys.

  2. Stephanie sikes

    Hi this may sound crazy but I read online that the eclipse is gonna reveal the new planet that will hit earth in Oct … I think the mans last name was meade . can u tell me more about why he is saying these things ?

    1. astrobob

      He is trying to drum up fear. There is no new planet there and certainly none that will hit the Earth. Enjoy the eclipse!

  3. Nickel

    My son wants to know why don’t we have a lunar eclipse on the opposite side of the world at the same time as a solar eclipse, or one that night? I figured you could help me explain this best. LOL!

    1. astrobob

      Hi Nickel,

      Solar eclipses only happen when the moon comes BETWEEN the sun and the Earth at new moon. When the moon is between the two bodies, it casts a shadow on Earth. It takes two full weeks for the moon to revolve to the other side of Earth and pass through Earth’s shadow. Two weeks past new moon is the full moon, so lunar eclipses only happen at full moon. It takes two weeks for the moon to go from new to full, so nothing happens overnight or on the other side of the world at new moon. Does this help?

      1. Nickel

        Yes that helps. He understands a bit better know. His thinking was the other side of the planet (dark side) sees the opposite of what we see during our day. Lol
        Young curious minds are fascinating.

        Thank you Bob.

        1. astrobob

          You’re welcome, Nickel. I can understand his thinking. He’s right in this sense: the dayside of the Earth sees the eclipse in a daytime sky, while the opposite hemisphere sees the night sky. Night and day are always in opposite hemispheres.

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