See it! Moon sweeps past Venus and Mars

As 2017 opens, the young moon is sweeping past dazzling Venus in the west after sunset. Mars is there, too, and, for those with optical aid, Neptune! Photos here.

The moon moves continually eastward in orbit. It has now swept up past Venus and will continue getting higher in the west after sunset. Here’s the view from Hong Kong on the evening of January 2. Thank you, Matthew Chin!

On January 2, 2017 – as seen from Nova Scotia, Canada – the moon was sandwiched between Mars and Venus. Photo by Lynda Mallett.

As seen from the Northern Hemisphere, the moon, Venus and Mars arced up and to the left of the sunset Sunday evening, January 1, 2017. Photo by Gowrishankar Lakshminarayanan Parsippany, New Jersey. Thank you, Gowri!

As seen from the Southern Hemisphere, they arced up and to the right of the sunset on January 1. Photo by Michael Coonan in Wodonga, Australia. Thank you, Michael.

You could see them as soon as it got dark outside. January 1 photo by Patricia J Agustin M at Lydgate State Park in Hawaii. Thanks, Patricia!

If you had enough optical aid, you could see Neptune, too. January 1 photo by Stuart Kenn in Beeton, Ontario, Canada. Thank you, Stuart.

Karl Diefenderfer in Quakertown, Pennsylvania wrote: “Earthshining moon and Venus in a sea of stars. What a great way to begin a new year of watching the heavens.” Agree! Thank you, Karl.

As Earth spun on its axis, the moon and Venus on January 1 followed the sun below the western horizon. By early evening, they were gone. Animation by Helio C. Vital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Thanks, Helio.

Venus and the moon are Earth’s two brightest nighttime objects. See them shining in the water? January 1, 2017 by Tony Leeat the upper Niagara River, looking west to Grand Island. Thank you, Tony!

A few thin clouds on January 1 enhanced the view for our friend Lunar 101-MoonBook. Thank you for all you do!

Azya Matsumoto in Malaysia – just west of the International Date Line – caught the youngest moon of the pics we saw … farthest from Venus. Because the moon is always moving in orbit around Earth, it edged closer to Venus throughout the day on January 1, 2017. Thank you, Azya!

If you look westward after sunset, you’ll easily see a very bright starlike object. That’s the planet Venus. The moon is sweeping past Venus on the first few evenings of 2017.

The moon will sweep by Venus and Mars again before January, 2017 ends. Read more.

Bottom line: Photos of the moon, Venus and Mars (and Neptune) in early January, 2017.

Deborah Byrd