Extra-bright Venus and the moon are having a celestial dalliance these days. And, you should watch for the pair in a dusk and night-fall sky, especially during the crest moon time. If you look toward western sky after sunset, you simply can’t miss bright Venus. From early December, 2013 to February 2014, the Venus will be extra bright and seen near the crescent moon after the sunset. You can watch the closeness at dusk coming few days.
The attention towards the closeness of the crescent moon and extra-bright Venus at dusk and early night fall was drawn by my brother early December, 2013 when I visited him at Kurukshetra and took a few photographs. It was not the dusk time but early night fall and required more exposure time to take the inset picture.
These days, the lit portion of Venus covers the greatest area of sky when its disk is illuminated. Venus’ disk is only around 26% illuminated in sunshine at its greatest illuminated extent, and it makes the planet brightest.
Scientists say that Venus’ greatest illuminated extent depends on that delicate balance between phase and the apparent size of its diameter. Venus shines most brilliantly when its disk is about one-quarter illuminated, blazing away at an apparent magnitude of -4.7.
If you are a star gazer, after sunset, look far lower right of the waxing crescent Moon, this time or the next time, for extra-bright Venus, dropping lower every day. It will reach inferior conjunction, 5° north of the Sun, on January 11th.