Crescent Venus

By , November 20, 2010

Friday morning I was arrested in my “morning walk” by a bright object in the sky, low above the Coast Range across the fjord, and slightly to the south. I assumed it was the morning star, the planet Venus, but I saw something strange about its shape. It appeared to be crescent, as if the moon had receded incredibly. I stepped back inside for a pair of binoculars and looked again. Sure enough, a small, bright, perfect crescent hung in the morning sky.

crescent venus above Alaska's Cascade Range

Crescent Venus. No astral photographer, me . . . (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

I had to hurry on to my morning errand, but I hoped to take a photo when I’d finished. Unfortunately, the planet had disappeared behind clouds, so I went inside to research whether or not this could be Venus, and confirm that I could really see it as a crescent.

As I soon learned, I can. It’s not easy. Most references said that seeing Venus in any crescent phase is a sight reserved for those with exceptionally keen eyesight and excellent conditions. I obviously had the conditions on my side.

The clouds passed, and I spent some time in the cold trying to get a decent shot. The one above is the best of a lot of botched attempts. As ever, a photograph doesn’t do the homestead scenery justice. You just had to be here. I’m awfully glad I was!

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