November 7, 2021: During the early evening Venus and the moon group together in the southwest.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
On the evening of November 7, brilliant Venus and the crescent moon appear together low in the southwestern sky.
Each month, the moon passes the closest planet to Earth. Whether in the morning sky or evening sky, they make a photogenic pair.
This evening the crescent moon, 13% illuminated, is 3.9° to the lower right of Venus.
Look for a gentle glow on the moon’s night portion. This is reflected sunlight from Earth’s oceans, clouds, and land, known as earthshine.
Recently, the American Geophysical Union reported research, led by Philip Goode at California’s Big Bear Observatory, shows that Earth is about 0.5% less reflective than at the beginning of the century. This could be attributed to a reduction of bright, reflective low-lying clouds over the eastern Pacific Ocean in the most recent years. This could be attributed to global changes in weather and climate.
Earth is the sixth most reflective planet in the solar system. This is known as the planet’s albedo. Our world reflects about 37% of the sunlight that falls on it. Venus, the planet with the highest albedo, reflects 65% of the inbound sunlight, while Jupiter reflects 52% and Saturn, 47%.
Photographers can capture earthshine with tripod mounted cameras with exposures ranging to several seconds, depending on the camera’s settings.
This image from earlier this year shows the moon, 9% illuminated, with earthshine.
Farther eastward, Saturn – about 35° to the upper left of Venus – is about one-third of the way up in the south. Bright Jupiter is 15.5° to the upper left of the Ringed Wonder.
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