August 6th, 2005

sliver moon

Worth Its Weight in Sliver

I saw my second consecutive sliver moon this evening. It was kind of disappointing, even though the sky could not have been much better for it. The slender crescent was almost completely hidden behind the early-evening haze. I might not have noticed it at all if I didn't know exactly where to look. The problem is that at this time of year, the Ecliptic forms a very narrow angle with the western horizon at sunset, so that the sliver moon sets very quickly after the Sun. Still, I shouldn't look a gift sliver moon in the crescent, and the Ecliptical situation will be even worse the next two lunar months, so I'll grudgingly give tonight's sliver a rating of two Moons out of five: ☽☽.

We're in for a much better treat tomorrow evening—the Grand Celestial Event of this month: the Moon will occult (pass in front of) Venus just before 10:00 PM. Alas, the Moon and Venus will set around 9:30 PDT, so we'll just miss the moment of occultation. But the view will still be spectacular, because as they set, Venus will be hovering almost between the tips of the Moon's crescent.