Stargazing: Jupiter and the crescent moon

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As a new cycle of lunar phases starts on Wednesday, a very young waxing crescent moon will pass Jupiter in the western sky after sunset this weekend.

Look for the 3-day-old wafer-thin crescent moon Saturday evening, 15 degrees above the western horizon one hour after sunset. The young crescent will sit about 5 degrees below Jupiter. By Sunday evening, the crescent moon will have climbed higher in the sky and sit about 10 degrees to the left of the Jovian giant. One clenched fist equals about 10 degrees.

When you look for this eye-catching pairing this weekend, notice that Jupiter is closer to the western horizon after sunset than it was at the end of last month, when it was about 40 degrees above the horizon. The Jovian giant has now sunk to within 20 degrees of the horizon. Jupiter will continue to sink lower and set earlier each evening until the beginning of July, when it is lost in the glare of the sun.

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