Skywatchers taking in the view after sunset have a chance to see Venus and the moon line up with Jupiter and Saturn in the evening sky tonight (Nov. 8).
Look close to the southwestern horizon about 30 minutes after sunset and you'll be able to spot the waxing moon, just to the left of the bright glare of Venus. The moon and bright planet will appear to make a line with Jupiter and Saturn that stretches up and to the east. You can take in the whole scene with no equipment, although if you have binoculars handy, that will show some craters on the moon. You will see no more features on Venus, which is fully socked in by cloud. The moon's phase is currently in a waxing stage as it heads to a full moon on Nov. 19.
"Should be really pretty, so don't miss it," NASA said of the meetup between the two celestial bodies. The two worlds are gliding close to each other in Earth's sky because they both happen to be on the ecliptic, the plane upon which the solar system's planets, sun and many moons orbit. The result is you'll often see the moon gliding by planets throughout the year.
If you take a photograph of Venus and the moon let us know! You can send images and comments in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're looking for binoculars or a telescope to see planets in the night sky, check our our guide for the best binoculars deals of 2021 and the best telescope deals now. If you need equipment, consider our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography to make sure you're ready for the next planet sight.
There will be more fun to come from both the moon and Venus as November continues. Venus will grow even more visible by end of month, as it moves higher in the sky and away from the dense atmosphere near the horizon.
"The view improves because, as Earth moves around the sun, the evening angle of the ecliptic ... is shifting upward," EarthSky said. "The effect is to carry Venus higher in the west after sunset."
As for the moon, it will enter a partial lunar eclipse on Nov. 19 when it passes partway into the shadow of the Earth. The eclipse will peak at 4:02 a.m. EST (0902 GMT) during a six-hour event visible from North and South America, Australia, and parts of Europe and Asia. You can check out our guide to lunar eclipses for more information..
If you're eager to see the next total eclipse, when the moon turns red, the "blood moon," will occur May 15-16, 2022 and it will be visible from North and South America, Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia.
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