The duo were at their closest just after noon (PDT), when Venus was easy to pick out in binoculars just above the lunar crescent. Venus is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon, and some keen-eyed observers can see it without optical aid in daylight, but most skywatchers have to wait until just before the Sun goes down before they can sight it. In either case, it helps to have the Moon nearby as a guide.
As neat as daylight viewing is, seeing these two celestial objects close to one another in twilight is much more spectacular. Even the most casual skywatchers can’t help but notice the bright glint of Venus next to the Moon. As these pictures illustrate, it was a lovely show.
The pairing also gives us a lesson in celestial perspective. Consider that Venus is just a little smaller than the Earth (12,104 km diameter versus 12,756 kilometres), and 3½ times bigger than the Moon. And yet, it was just a tiny dot next to the lunar crescent. That’s because at the time of their close encounter, Venus was nearly 160 million kilometres from Earth, while the Moon was a mere 378 thousand kilometres distant. Little wonder Venus was just a little speck of light — it was more than 400× farther away than the Moon.
The two meet up regularly and will do so again next month, though they won’t be nearly as close together as this time.