Starwatch: Venus and the moon reward early-risers

A slender, waning crescent moon will slide past the brilliant jewel of Venus in the pre-dawn sky

Stuart Clark @DrStuClark

Mon 7 Dec 2020 06.00 GMT

Getting up before dawn brings a reward this week. Between 11 and 13 December, a slender, waning crescent moon will slide past the brilliant jewel of Venus in the pre-dawn sky. The chart shows the view looking south-east from London on 12 December at 07:00 GMT.

Sunlight will be creeping into the sky and the moon will have risen before Venus. The moon will be extremely thin, with less than 10% of its surface illuminated. The morning before, the moon will rise a little sooner and be slightly more illuminated.

The morning after, it will be closer to the sun and even less of its surface will be lit – this could make it tricky to spot from the UK and westward countries. From Sydney, Australia, the pair are visible in the eastern sky before dawn. On the morning of 13 December, they will appear side by side, making a very pretty pairing indeed. The moon will then slip past the sun, reappearing in the evening sky next week as a new moon.

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