The Moon Occults Venus, December 7, 2015

The Moon Occults Venus, December 7, 2015
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This image of the Moon and Venus was taken at the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory on Monday, December 7 at 12:39 pm EST, just one minute before the Moon blocked Venus from view.  An animation of the event can be found here.

More than a hundred visitors joined staff at the Public Observatory to witness the relatively rare event.  Some were able to observe the slender crescent Moon and the bright dot of Venus with the naked eye.  A highly magnified telescopic view of Venus reveals that it has phases as well, and is currently slightly more than half full.

An occultation is when one object passes in front of another, blocking it from view.  The Moon occulted Venus for more than an hour.  By the time Venus emerged again on the other side of the Moon, both Venus and the Moon had sunk too low to observe at the Public Observatory.

The Moon and Venus are both often visible in the daytime sky.  Venus is currently easiest to observe before dawn, when it is the brightest object in the sky other than the Moon.

Telescope: 3.5" Questar reflector

Camera: Canon T3i