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Moon inching toward Venus on February 25

Moon, Venus close together in morning sky on February 25 Read more

Tonight for February 24, 2014

The most brilliant celestial objects of nighttime – the waning crescent moon and planet Venus – grace the predawn and dawn hours on February 25, 2014. These worlds are so wondrously bright and beautiful that you can easily see them in the glare of morning twilight – or possibly, even after sunrise.

The moon will occult – cover over – Venus on Wednesday, February 26, during the predawn and dawn hours for much of tropical Africa, and during the daylight hours in India and China. Click here to find out more about the occultation of Venus on February 26.

EarthSky Facebook friend Jean-Baptiste Feldmann Photographies wrote,

EarthSky Facebook friend Jean-Baptiste Feldmann Photographies wrote, “Morning after morning the moon is approaching Venus. The meeting is scheduled at the dawn of Wednesday, February 26 … ” This image is from February 24. Thank you, Jean-Baptiste! See more photos from Jean-Baptiste Feldmann Photographies.

Because Venus lies inside of Earth’s orbit, this planet displays the entire range of phases, much like our moon does. If you could peer through a telescope at Venus now, you’d find the moon and Venus both exhibit a crescent phase.

Yes, Venus and Mercury – which orbit inside Earth’s orbit around the sun – can both appear in crescent phases in our sky. Meanwhile, those planets lying outside Earth’s orbit – Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – are always full, or close to full, as seen from Earth.

The moon is now waning toward new moon now, but Venus is waxing toward full Venus. The moon will turn new on March 1, to transition back into the evening sky. Some Northern Hemisphere residents will probably first see the young moon in the evening sky on March 2.

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The moon's (and Earth's) orbit in one lunar month (new moon to new moon) as seen from north of the ecliptic - Earth's orbital plane. Sun is at top, outside the illustration. New moon at extreme right and left. Full moon at center. Click here for larger chart and more detailed explanation.

The moon’s (and Earth’s) orbit in one lunar month (new moon to new moon) as seen from north of the ecliptic – Earth’s orbital plane. Sun is at top, outside the illustration. New moon at extreme right and left. Full moon at center. Click here for larger chart and more detailed explanation.

Venus transitions to the morning sky at new phase and into the evening sky at full phase. Venus and all the solar system planets go counterclockwise around the sun as seen from the north side of the solar system plane, as in this diagram.

Venus transitions to the morning sky at new phase and into the evening sky at full phase. Venus and all the solar system planets go counterclockwise around the sun as seen from the north side of the solar system plane, as in this diagram.

As for Venus, it’ll reach full phase as seen from Earth on October 25, 2014, when it’s far across the solar system from our planet, lost in the sun’s glare. At the same time, Venus will transition back into the evening sky. Because the moon revolves around the Earth, the moon’s return to the evening sky starts at new moon. Venus revolves around the sun, though, not the Earth. And thus this world’s return to the Earth’s evening sky begins at full phase instead.

Bottom line: Let yourself be entranced by the beauty of the early morning on February 25 and 26, 2014 when the waning crescent moon appears near the planet Venus.