A “SUPER” CRESCENT MOON AND VENUS: When the sun goes down tonight (May 17th), step outside and look west. A beautifully slender crescent Moon is passing by Venus in the twilight sky.
Take a closer look at that Moon. Does the crescent seem extra big and bright? You might be right. It’s a “Supermoon.”
On May 17th the Moon is at perigee–that is, the side of the Moon’s elliptical orbit closest to Earth. This makes the Moon 5% wider and almost 11% brighter than average crescent moons of the same phase. You’ve probably heard the term “supermoon” applied to full Moons. It applies to crescents as well.
This is also a good night to see the Da Vinci Glow, also known as “Earthshine.” Inside the arms of the lunar crescent there is a faint image of the full Moon. That is caused by sunlight reflected from Earth onto the dark lunar surface. In the northern hemisphere, Earthshine is extra visible in spring because springtime crescent Moons are high in the sky at sunset.
A springtime super crescent Moon with Earthshine and Venus? It doesn’t get much better than that. Enjoy the show!
Clips, images credit: spaceweather.com , ESA/HUBBLE, ESO & NASA/JPL
Music credit: YouTube Audio Library
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