Stargazing: Crescent moon passes Venus

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Friday's new moon marked the start of a new 291/2-day lunar month. At that time, the moon was in line between Earth and the sun. It couldn't be seen because the bright side of the moon was facing the sun, and the dark side was facing Earth. Our closest celestial neighbor is now moving east, away from the sun, in its orbit around Earth, and it is beginning to reflect sunlight off its surface. It will appear as a thin crescent tonight and Tuesday evening as it passes brilliant Venus low in the southwestern sky.

Look for a very thin crescent moon tonight, 45 minutes after sunset, and 10 degrees above the southwestern horizon. It will sit about 10 degrees to the right of Venus and 10 degrees to the upper left of Saturn. By Tuesday evening, the moon will have moved further east away from the sun, climbing to about 15 degrees above the horizon and 5 degrees to the upper left of Venus.



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