Changing Planet

Stunning Photo: Luna Snuggles With Goddess of Love

The crescent moon and Venus shine through a natural rock arch in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, after dusk on December 5, 2013. Credit: Brad Goldpaint,

The waxing crescent moon appears to play peek-a-boo with the planet Venus through a natural rock arch in this dramatic snapshot taken in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.

Sky-watchers this week got to see Earth’s lone natural satellite glide past the second planet from the sun in the southwestern skies. The two worlds appeared to reach their closest in the sky (known as a conjunction) at dusk on December 5, when this photograph was taken. At the time the two brightest objects in the night sky were separated by only 6 degrees—little more than the width of your fist at arm’s length.

As of Friday, December 6, the moon will appear to have risen higher in the evening sky, to the far upper left of Venus.

“My goal was to capture a conjunction of the crescent moon and Venus against the backdrop of ancient red sandstone formations,” explains astrophotographer Brad Goldpaint in an email to National Geographic News.

“Barely visible to the right of the moon is a shaft of light penetrating the night sky from the Luxor Casino in Las Vegas.”

Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, on Twitter and Facebook.

Andrew Fazekas, aka The Night Sky Guy, is a science writer, broadcaster, and lecturer who loves to share his passion for the wonders of the universe through all media. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic News and is the national cosmic correspondent for Canada’s Weather Network TV channel, space columnist for CBC Radio network, and a consultant for the Canadian Space Agency. As a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Andrew has been observing the heavens from Montreal for over a quarter century and has never met a clear night sky he didn’t like.
  • David Ridge

    UH, that is not a crescent moon, it is a full moon!

  • Madeleine de Larrain Ross

    Stunning photo!! I was mesmerised tonight by the beauty of crescent moon and Venus, visible from here in southern Spain. Thank you for photo.

  • tshikos

    this the reality

  • Vicky

    Add the Dramatized CD recording of article by native speakers in American or British English will be better!

  • gu

    好美啊!摄影师肯定很享受吧~Sorry! my english is poor, I don’t know how to express my feeling exactly, but I love everything in this photo, it’s so beautiful.

  • Debi Kermeen

    So beautiful! LOVE it

  • Sarah Arnold

    Those beauties in the picture are like romeo and Juliet,they will always be together.

  • #prettygirl101

    I think Romeo and Juliet,is a sad story. WHO AGREES????

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