Today's Image

Dazzling Venus goes behind the moon

Four small glowing orbs in line, the last halfway behind the edge of a closeup view of the moon.
Time-lapse telescopic image of the brightest planet, Venus, going behind the bright limb (edge) of the moon on May 27, 2022. Quentin Gineys used an 11-inch telescope to photograph this occultation of Venus by the moon from Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean. Here are details on Quentin’s equipment. He said he caught it when the moon was low in the sky, only about 10 degrees above the horizon. Image via Quentin Gineys/ Used with permission.

On May 27, 2022, the waning crescent moon swept in front of Venus, hiding it from view for about 50 minutes. To see the moon occult Venus, you had to be inside a narrow path stretching through most of southeast Asia and into the Indian Ocean. Note that the telescope turned the image of Venus and the moon upside-down. If your eyes could act as telescopes, magnifying the view, you would have seen the pair in the sky like this:

Four small bright orbs (Venus) in line below closeup of edge of cratered moon above.
A non-inverted time-lapse image, showing Venus being covered by the moon on May 27, 2022. Image via Quentin Gineys. Used with permission.

Waning moon, waxing Venus

Also notice that the moon is in a slim waning crescent phase, while Venus is in a waxing gibbous phase now. These two appeared close in our sky, but they are far apart in space. A heliocentric chart of the May 2022 planets illustrates the view from above the solar system:

Circle with sun at center, planets around, and zodiac names on outer edge.
View larger. | Heliocentric view of the solar system, May 2022. Chart via Guy Ottewell.

What did the rest of us see?

Those of us who couldn’t see the occultation had a striking view of Venus and the moon, anyway. We got many photos of the waning crescent moon sweeping near Venus at EarthSky Community Photos. The photo below – from Tameem Altameemi in Dubai – illustrates the striking “crescent and star” (really, planet) that most of us saw in the early morning sky on May 27, 2022.

Thin crescent moon labeled in Arabic and English and similarly labeled bright Venus.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Tameem Altameemi in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, took this image of the waning crescent moon and Venus on May 27. Thank you, Tameem! Keep an eye on the morning sky to see Mars and Jupiter’s conjunction on May 29, 2022.

Bottom line: Venus passed behind the moon on May 27, 2022. An astrophotographer on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean captured the scene.


May 29, 2022
Today's Image

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