Stargazing: Stunning morning duo

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Another lunar month is about to end. The current cycle of moon phases started on March 1 and will end with a new moon on Sunday. Before the cycle comes to a close, a thin waning crescent moon will join Venus for a stunning conjunction in the morning sky.

Look for a thin crescent moon above the southeastern horizon Wednesday morning, 45 minutes before sunrise. It will sit about 10 degrees above and to the right of dazzling bright Venus. By Thursday morning, the waning crescent will have moved about 15 degrees closer to the horizon and join Venus for a stunning pairing when it sits just 3 degrees to the left of our "morning star." Venus currently rises two hours before the sun, and it is a brilliant beacon, shining at a luminous --4.5 magnitude.

The first three months of 2014 have brought two unusual celestial events, two new moons in the same month. The first "black moon" occurred in January, while the second will take place on March 30.

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