This weekend, 18 & 19 July 2015, the crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter make a nice grouping in the western sky in the evening twilight.
The Moon may be first visible on Friday night as a thin crescent below both Venus and Jupiter. Venus is very bright and is seen above the fainter Jupiter. On Saturday the Moon has moved much closer to Jupiter – as shown in the above graphic – and by Sunday the Moon will be just above Venus.
The appearance of the crescent Moon on Friday evening is also a marker for the end of Ramadan for many people.
This weekend is also a good time to view Venus during daylight hours. This is only possible when Venus is at its brightest. On Sunday shade your eyes from the Sun and locate the crescent Moon in the sky. Nearby you will see a bright “star” – this is Venus. The graphic above shows the position of the Sun, crescent Moon and Venus at midday (AEST) on Sunday July 19, 2015, looking north.
Ross Mitchell, a Skywatchers member, and regular contributor to these blog pages located Venus by eye recently and photographed it – as you can see below Venus also displays a crescent shape. Ross has sent a few images and I will post more soon.
*Warning: Please note that photographing Venus when it is so close to the Sun during daytime requires great care and should only be attempted if you understand how to do so safely. Viewing the Sun with binoculars, telescopes and other optical equipment can lead to permanent, irreversible eye damage.