Crescent Moon and Venus

It was 6:30 pm this past Sunday and I had just turned on to our long dri­ve­way. Sunset had been an hour ago. In the south­west sky was a sight that caused me to stop the car and stare. Just above the adja­cent hill where the cat­tle were graz­ing was a beau­ti­ful cres­cent moon, and near it was a bright object that I assumed was a plan­et. The part of the moon that is usu­al­ly dark was vis­i­ble, with a slight glow. 

It was mesmerizing.

I had my cam­era and tri­pod in my car — and my djem­be. The moment called for drum­ming or tak­ing a pho­to­graph, or both. I decid­ed to try to get a quick pho­to before the scene changed much. I put a longer lens on my cam­era, set up my tri­pod along the dri­ve­way, attached the cam­era, and point­ed toward the top of the hill. I would have liked to have spent some time choos­ing between dif­fer­ent fore­grounds, but these kinds of moments can be fleet­ing so I used what was giv­en to me right where I stopped the car.

When I got to the house I looked it up and learned that the oth­er bright object was indeed a plan­et, Venus. Being able to see the usu­al­ly dark part of the moon was due to a phe­nom­e­non called earth­shine, when sun­light reflects back to the moon from the Earth itself.

It’s easy to imag­ine our ear­ly ances­tors sit­ting around won­der­ing about the night sky and try­ing to make sense of it. Heck, con­tem­plat­ing the night sky fills me with won­der and awe too.

  • Wes Moody

    Wes is a retired engi­neer. He and his wife live in rur­al Clark County with their dog and cat. He is a nature and land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy enthu­si­ast, and also enjoys hik­ing and play­ing djembe.