February 27, 2024

Starwatch chart

What a difference a week on the moon makes. Last week it was a waning crescent moon in the morning sky. This week it returns to the evening twilight as a waxing crescent moon.

The illuminated percentage of the visible surface remains almost the same at 14%, compared to last week’s 12.7%, but this time it is the moon’s eastern hemisphere that is illuminated instead of the west. Last week the moon’s planetary companions were Mercury and Venus, this week it’s the turn of Saturn.

The chart shows the view looking west from London on January 14 at 1700 GMT. Start looking for Saturn shortly after the sun sets and the light begins to drain from the sky. The giant planet Saturn is nine times wider than Earth and covered in reflective clouds, but at a distance of 1.6 billion km from Earth it still looks rather dim.

Around 19:00 GMT the sky will be completely dark, but Saturn will be significantly lower in the sky. Those who can still see it will see it exhibit a distinct yellowish color. The pairing is also easily visible in the western evening sky from the southern hemisphere.

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