A Crescent Moon made an appearance this weekend, as the lunar orb entered its Waxing Crescent stage. But eagle-eyed stargazers have also noticed a particularly bright star shining to the right of the Moon. Both celestial bodies can be seen tonight near the constellation Taurus.
One person tweeted earlier this month: “Did anyone notice this super bright light (supposedly Venus or Mars), next to the Moon last week?
“I’ve never seen it like this. It’s still there but I can’t see the Moon now. These pictures were taken last week.”
Another person said: “What is the bright light just above tonight’s Moon?”
A third stargazer tweeted: “What is the bright light to the top right of the Moon? Is it Mercury, Venus, or the Met Police Helicopter monitoring a barbecue in Hampton Wick?”
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What is the bright light next to the Moon? Is it a star?
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, look to the western skies and you will see a bright source of light to the right of the Crescent Moon.
The bright light is not a star – although it is sometimes called the Evening Star – but rather the planet Venus.
After the Sun and the Moon, Venus is the third brightest object in our skies.
With a bit of luck, Venus can even be spotted during the day.
Look for Venus in the west from about sunset in the constellation Taurus this month.
Last evening I could admire and image this superb show
Dr Gianluca Masi, Virtual Telescope Project
The planet will then be visible until about midnight, after which it will vanish.
Venus will stay in our skies until the end of May.
Venus is sometimes known as the Evening Star because it appears close to sunset this time of year.
But the planet can also appear in the morning, just after sunrise, at other times.
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When this happens, astronomers in the past have called it the Morning Star.
Some have even mistaken the planet for two separate stars.
Venus is so bright this month because its dense cloud coverage reflects up to 70 percent of sunlight back into space.
The planet is also creeping closer to Earth, making it incredibly easy to spot.
Astronomer Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy snapped a picture of the planet.
He told Express.co.uk: “Last evening I could admire and image this superb show, with the Pleiades and Aldebaran joining the meeting, too.”
One stargazer said on Twitter: “Tonight’s sky. Yesterday I thought that bright light next to the Moon was a lonely star but no, today I learned it’s Venus!”
Another person tweeted: “Check out the Moon… if you look to the right of it… that bright light is Venus.”
A third person said: “If you go outside and look, the bright light next to the Moon is VENUS!”
If you have a telescope or decent pair binoculars at home, you can see the planet is going through phases just like the Moon.
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