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On Oct. 31st, the crescent Moon will sneak up on Venus for a close encounter of startling beauty. The gathering is best seen just after sunset when the twilight is pumpkin-orange and Halloween doorbells are chiming in earnest. Venus hovers just above the southwestern horizon, the brightest light in the sky, while the exquisitely slender Moon approaches just a few degrees below
One night later, you can give the sequel your undivided attention. On Nov. 1st, Venus and the Moon emerge from the twilight side-by-side, Venus on the right, the Moon on the left. Look carefully at the Moon. Can you see a ghostly image of the full Moon inside the bright horns of the crescent? That’s called "Earthshine" or sometimes "the da Vinci glow" because Leonardo da Vinci was the first person to explain it: Sunlight hits Earth and ricochets to the Moon, casting a sheen of light across the dark lunar terrain. A crescent Moon with Earthshine is one of the loveliest sights in the heavens.