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Moon and Venus make an eye-catching pair Feb. 27

If skies are clear this Friday evening, February 27, 2009, look up for a striking sight: a close pairing of the brightest objects in the night sky, the Moon and Venus.

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Looking west, early evening February 27, 2009. (Image from Stellarium.org, edited by Wilson Andrews)
By
Amy Sayle, Morehead Planetarium
and
Science Center
If skies are clear this Friday evening, February 27, look up for a striking sight: a close pairing of the brightest objects in the night sky, the Moon and Venus.

During the early evening, you'll see the Moon as a slender crescent in the west. Just to the Moon's upper right will be the planet Venus, looking like a really, really bright star. ("It's so bright I thought it was a light on top of a tower," a friend said.)

Through a telescope, you can see craters on the crescent Moon and discover that Venus itself is currently in a crescent phase.

Don't own a telescope? Join Morehead Planetarium and Science Center for a skywatching session at Little River Regional Park on Friday, Feb. 27, from 7 to 9 p.m. (weather permitting). We'll use telescopes to view the Moon and Venus in their last close evening encounter until 2010.

If the weather permits, we'll also have telescopes set up the following night, Saturday, Feb. 28, in Chapel Hill at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center for our Family Science Night, "Be an Astronomer!" In the preceding 24 hours the Moon will seem to have pulled away from Venus, but both will still be dramatic sights, as will Saturn and its rings.
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