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The Sciences

Venus in a love triangle

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitNovember 29, 2008 12:00 AM


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O, how complicated our heavenly bodies, how lovely their trysts, how ephemeral their passings! Forgive me my waxing poetical, but this is astronomy, and if the Moon can wax, so can I. But what I said is true, and you can see it for yourself: take a walk outside over the next few evenings. In the west, just after sunset, Venus and Jupiter grace our skies.Over the course of several nights, as Venus orbits the Sun it appears to be slowly moving eastward, approaching Jupiter. It's very pretty, and on December 1 the thin crescent Moon will join them! Even better, for viewers in Europe and NW Africa, on December 1st at 15:50 GMT, the Moon will pass directly in front of Venus! This does not happen very often, so if you get a chance and have clear skies, you should take a look. Watching Venus disappear behind the Moon is something I've only seen once, and it's very cool.

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