It’s not the moon. It’s VenusVenus appears as a blazing star to the eye alone….

It’s not the moon. It’s Venus

Venus appears as a blazing star to the eye alone. But if you looked at it through a telescope now, you’d find it showing a phase and appearing approximately half illuminated.

Venus is the brightest planet in Earth’s sky, and it’s now a blazing light in the west after sunset. It orbits the sun one step inward from Earth. And that’s why, when we gaze at Venus through a telescope, we sometimes see the planet show phases, like a tiny, featureless moon. Venus reaches its greatest elongation or greatest apparent distance from the sun on January 12, 2017. At such times, it appears as a tiny half moon through a telescope, approximately as Tom Wildoner – of the blog – caught it on January 1. Tom wrote at that time:

Here is a view of the planet Venus … now at 57% full. It will be progressively getting narrower over the next few weeks.

Via Tom Wildoner.