Stargazing: Waning crescent passes Venus

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Before the current cycle of lunar phases comes to an end on Saturday, early risers will have the opportunity to witness an eye-catching pairing between Venus and the thin crescent moon Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

Look for Venus and the thin waning crescent moon Tuesday morning about 45 minutes before sunrise. Dazzling bright Venus can be located about 15 degrees above the southeastern horizon, and the thin crescent moon will sit about 9 degrees to the upper right of our "morning star." By Wednesday morning, the 26-day-old wafer-thin crescent will have passed Venus and sit about 5 degrees to the planet's lower left. A clenched fist held out at arm's length toward the horizon equals about 10 degrees.

Venus is shining at its brightest during the planet's current morning appearance. Our sister planet will continue to be a beacon in the morning sky for the next seven months before it returns to the neighborhood of the sun and reappears in the evening sky in December.

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