Backyard Observatory

Venus Will 'Rise' From Behind the Moon on Friday Morning

Get up early to see the duo hanging out close in the sky together.

Venus and the moon
VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Early this month, Venus ducked out of sight like the cool kids at a high school prom. And like those same kids, it's decided not to come back until the wee hours of the morning. 

Formerly visible early in the evening, Venus will now be visible in the morning. As a part of its new, temporary life as the morning star, Venus is going to make an appearance right next to the moon on the morning of June 19. With clear skies, the duo will be easy to spot. Obviously, you're familiar with the moon, but Venus (magnitude -4.5, per Sky & Telescope) is also easily visible with the naked eye. It's the brightest object in Earth's sky this side of the sun or moon. 

You'll want to go out around 4am local time on June 19 or maybe even a touch earlier. The two objects are relatively easy to see, but you'll want to have an unobstructed view of the east-northeast horizon because they'll be hanging out quite low in the sky. 

The pairing will look different depending on where you are

The vast majority of the US will see Venus and the moon get very close together. They'll be about two degrees apart when seen from the western US. In the central parts of the country, they'll be about one degree apart. Further east, they'll be even closer, with the distance measuring less than a degree of distance. 

However, the real showstopper will be seen exclusively in the northeast. When the moon rises for people in New York, New England, and a little bit of coastal Canada, including Halifax, Venus will be hiding behind the moon. This is an occultation. It'll take just minutes of viewing after moonrise to see Venus "rise" from behind the dark of the moon. You can find a map of what parts of North America can see this happen, along with the timing for different cities, at Sky & Telescope

It's an exciting sight, but, as Astronomy notesit's not necessarily an easy task. "[C]atching the planet at the moment it reappears from behind our satellite is challenging due to its low altitude," it writes. Be sure you're somewhere with a clear view along the horizon if you are trying to spot the emergence of Earth's sister planet.

See two crescents in the sky

As noted above, the objects are generally easy to see with the naked eye. However, if you pull out binoculars or a telescope, you'll see something special. Both Venus and the moon will be crescent-shaped. Of course, it'll be easy to see the moon as a crescent without the aid of binoculars. You've done that countless times. However, because it's a planet reflecting the sun's light, Venus has phases and will be a slim crescent just like the moon. There's a lot to enjoy Friday morning, and not just because the week is finally coming to a merciful end.

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.