Two glittering planets meet the Earthshine lit Moon

Venus, Jupiter & the crescent Moon. (Click for full-size version) Credit: Will Gater

Jupiter, Venus and the crescent Moon are putting on a wonderful show in the west after sunset at the moment. The picture above shows the view last night with Jupiter and the Moon separated by roughly 3 degrees. A close-up of the view (below) shows the Moon and Jupiter as well as two of the Galilean satellites – Ganymede and Callisto. Tonight the view is no less spectacular with the brilliant Venus and the crescent Moon a little over 2 degrees apart. Pop out and see them if you can.

While you’re out, look out for the effect known as ‘Earthshine’. This is where sunlight reflected off the Earth’s bright cloud tops lights up the part of the Moon that isn’t directly lit by the Sun; it’s best seen when the Moon is a thin crescent, like it is at the moment. You can see Earthshine clearly illuminating the face of the Moon in the image below.

Jupiter, the crescent Moon & Earthshine. (Click for full-size version) Credit: Will Gater