Stargazing Side Quest Week 58: Waxing Crescent Moon with Jupiter

Happy Wednesday! It’s time for another Stargazing Side Quest!

For Week 58 we will be looking at the waxing crescent Moon right next to the biggest planet in our solar system, Jupiter! For this week’s side quest you’ll have to go out earlier than our usual 10pm. If you go outside after sunset when it starts to get dark out, look to the west. You’ll see a bright “star” near the horizon which is Venus. Above Venus you’ll find the waxing crescent Moon right next to another bright star-like dot in the sky which is Jupiter!

The Moon being in the waxing crescent phase means it is just a few days past the new phase and is steadily starting to increase in light. During the new moon phase, we can’t see the Moon at all because it is much too close to the Sun and reflects no sunlight to us. As the Moon moves past the Sun along the zodiac, it starts reflecting more and more light back to earth. During the waxing crescent phase the Moon is still pretty close to the Sun which means it is best seen in the sky shortly after sunset. Remember: within a few hours after sunset, the Moon will set too, so don’t wait too long!

If you want a bonus side quest (a side side-quest), then check out the distance between Venus and Jupiter tonight. Next week’s side quest will be to find these same two planets again. The difference? Next week Venus and Jupiter will be super close together in the sky! If you manage to see Venus and Jupiter tonight and next week you’ll get a great idea of planetary motion in the solar system! Neat!

Let us know if you got to see the Moon with Jupiter tonight! Did you catch Venus too? Let us know by taking a picture and tagging @stargazingsidequest and!

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