Venus has a date with the Moon tonight!

By Phil Plait | February 27, 2009 2:00 pm

Don’t forget, the thin crescent Moon and Venus will make a very tight pair tonight! According to my software, they are closest together around 5:00 tonight Mountain time (midnight UT), which is still daylight for me (on the East coast, where the Sun is already down, the timing should be about perfect for this), but even for another few hours they’ll make a very pretty couple in the west after sunset. At closest approach, the Moon will be about 1.5 degrees from the planet, or roughly three times its own width. This is a great photo op! Amanda at Astropixie has more.

And, of course, a little later you can try for Comet Lulin too. I’ll be at Fiske Planetarium watching my friend Luisa Rebull giving a talk tonight, but I’m hoping to get some sky time afterwards, too.


Comments (40)

  1. Jack Mitcham

    Too bad it’s extremely overcast for most of the east coast. I was planning to go to my first star party tonight, but it looks like it won’t happen due to cloud cover.

  2. Lisa

    Dang! Rain and storms for tonight. Looks like we won’t be seeing it.

  3. George Hardy

    It’s like an astrological plot against me, that I seldom get to view any events because of cloudy skies. Of course sometimes I just can’t stay awake!

  4. We are crossing fingers and already have a “GO” for placing our telescopes in one Mall’s parking lot.

    This is gonna be really nice!

    Oh! Beauty Without Borders!

  5. Charles Boyer

    Naturally, it is solidly cloudy and lightly raining here.

    Enjoy the show folks and take nice pictures.

  6. @ Tribbles:

    Nice pic. What kind of set-up do you use to hook it up to your laptop?

  7. i had a canon ef 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM mounted on a canon 40D. the 40D has a ‘live view’ mechanism which lets you to view your subject through the display.

    that, in combination with the eos utility software provided with the body, allows you to hook up the camera with a USB cable to your computer and control it from there.

    the first blue shot was on the sidewalk without the computer — the second, darker one was from home and the remote live view.

  8. Charles Boyer

    ^ Use as short an exposure as you can, the moon moves faster than you think!

    And also try to set your mirror to be up and locked before you fire the shutter.

    Also, take a look at this lunar exposure calculator

    I wish I could be out shooting tonight, but I would need to be up at about 20,000 feet to clear the clouds here in NC.

  9. Sand/dust storm here will blot out everything. :( I need a rope to guide me from the trailers to the bathroom.

  10. I have a date with a Battlestar at that time.

  11. bigjohn756

    Phil, can you use your incredible powers to clear the clouds away in East Texas this evening so that I might view this awesome event.

  12. Overcast in Pittsburgh. I swear the atmosphere hates us here.

  13. Geek Goddess

    There is a *bit* of light pollution in Houston….

  14. stupid clouds over england. why did i move here again? oh right… the job.

    enjoying seeing other peoples pictures though. keep ’em coming!

  15. Here’s the view from Tenerife – which is off the W. coast of Africa – last evening.

  16. Just looked out my window and there they were… two celestial lovers, dancing across the heavens, cheek to cheek.

    I left my camera in my car, and am to lazy to walk across the lot to get it…

  17. moonglo

    I remember seeing this same sight in 1978–Back then I thought it was a star with the moon—someone told me it was Venus–and that is what I saw perfectly tonight–Venus with a sliver of the moon — sooo cool— perfectly clear…beautiful. I am from central Florida..

  18. Traditional astrology gives both the moon and Venus a feminine role.

    If Venus has a date with the moon … would that make them lesbians?

  19. Lovely from Pasadena, CA! Bit of haze, now, but earlier very nice.

    @ Tracer:

    Yes. Ain’t it grand. :)

  20. CaptXpendable

    I finally have a clear sky tonight so I’m going to try to find Lulin a little later. I live in Snowmass, CO so I’ve got high altitude and low light pollution, night skies are amazing up here.

  21. cloudy here tonight. grrr.

  22. Andy

    I see it here in the North Idaho panhandle, just cold clear and crisp, beautifull…

  23. Merbrat

    Here’s mine (belatedly) from Austin, TX ! It was almost gone.

  24. Kevin

    Very beautiful sight in the twilight sky, and they really got brilliant as it got dark.

    Here are mine…

  25. Carson

    Walking home in downtown Vancouver, Canada, we couldn’t help but see this fantastically brilliant, really beautiful show in the dark blue twilight sky. The moon was dagger-sharp with a full sphere on earthshine. Venus was so close to the moon that one wrong move and they’d crash. Just hanging there, barely above the building-tops. I even got an impromptu picture with my compact x10 camera; not bad at all. Sometimes, you know, life is swell.

  26. cameron

    I got my photo!

    It’s a very uncharacteristically clear night in Vancouver tonight… finally I get to see one of the cool astronomical events that I usually just hear other people talking about!

  27. Grand Lunar

    I’m glad events like this can overcome the annoying light pollution at my residence.

    The two made a lovely pair. And to think that they are seperated in space by millions of kilometers!

  28. Around 7pm in the San Fernando Valley it was beautiful!

  29. Merbrat

    It’s interesting to see the varied positions of The Dancers, thru posts from so many world locations! Greece was a cyclops smiling! o )

  30. Some beautiful pix, guys! Kevin, that astronaut shot is so geeky! Cameron, I think you win the prize with that close-up. Gorgeous!

  31. Here is a small video made with the pictures taken last night:


  32. ND


    Awesome pic. It was cloudy here in Boston :(

  33. ND

    Venus is also in a crescent phase as well. You’ll need a scope for that one tho.

  34. g9

    We got an absolutely clear and beautiful view of this off the coast of San Francisco last night!

  35. Jelly

    Got a lovely phot tonight! from Scotland!

  36. Master Meadows

    OOOOHHH> :( I missed it. WAAA!

  37. charlee

    now the moon is dating jupiter!!! LOL


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