As the Moon orbits the Earth, the Moon moves eastward away from the Sun in the sky and we see a little more of the sunlit side of the moon each night. A few days after new moon, the Moon appears as a thin crescent in the western sky just after sunset.
As December comes to an end during the next seven days, if you look to the southwestern horizon just after sunset, you will see a thin crescent moon.
Along with the Moon, the planets Saturn and Venus are also in the southwestern sky.
Saturn sets first followed later by Venus.
From Dec. 24- Dec. 31, the Moon will move past Saturn and Venus. These events are called conjunctions. They provide a memorable evening show if the observer has a clear unobstructed view of the southwestern horizon.
Just after the Sun completely sets on the evening of Friday, Dec. 27 you will see a young crescent moon about a palm’s width to the upper left of the planet Saturn. If you have a pair of binoculars you should be able to see both objects in the field of view. Saturn is very close to the horizon and will be a challenge to see.
The following evening Saturday, Dec. 28, also in the southwestern sky, the young crescent moon has moved higher up so that it is about 3 finger widths below the planet Venus. The young moon is only 3% illuminated.
Once again both the Moon and Venus can be seen in the field of view of binoculars. Venus is bright and shines at magnitude -3.8 and sets about three hours after the sun and becomes a dazzling evening “star”. As the weeks progress watch Venus ascend higher in the evening sky.
If the evening sky is clear don’t miss the sky show of the Moon, Saturn, and Venus. It’s free and open to the public.