Wednesday morning – October 7, 2015 – offered a spectacular line-up of the moon and bright planets Venus and Jupiter in the east before dawn. Thursday morning – October 8 – is even better! Now the waning crescent moon is closer to Venus, which is the sky’s brightest planet. The second-brightest planet, Jupiter, will be close too on Thursday, a short hop below the moon and Venus. And we’ve added a third planet to today’s sky chart. Mars much fainter than the other two worlds, but you can spot it, if you look.
Plus if you’re up before dawn, look for the star Regulus close to Venus (see chart below).
The chart at the top of this post – and the chart below – show the sky scene for North American mid-northern latitudes. Anywhere worldwide, though, the brightest starlike object near the moon on October 8 will be Venus. Jupiter, second-brightest starlike object, will be nearby.
What’s more, if you have binoculars, you can use them to sweep for the planet Mercury, which is now returning to the east before dawn.
As seen from Australia and New Zealand, the moon and Venus will be closest together for the month on the morning of October 9. In fact, from this part of the world, the moon will actually occult – cover over – Venus sometime on October 9. For instance, in Adelaide, South Australia, the waning crescent moon will occult Venus on October 9, from 4:54 to 6:08 a.m. Australian Central Daylight Time (ACDT).
Click here for more information on this lunar occultation of Venus in Australia. Keep in mind that the occultation times listed on this site are given in Universal Time. Click here to find out how many hours to add to Universal Time to convert to your Australian time zone.
In New Zealand, this lunar occultation of Venus will take place during the daytime hours on October 9.
Bottom line: As seen from around the world, look for the moon near the brilliant planets Venus and Jupiter on the mornings of October 8 and 9.