Tonight (Jan 25) the slim crescent of the Moon will be hanging out just a little to the right of the planet Venus. Just look over in the west shortly after sunset (which is 5:15pm tonight) and you will see them both hanging out there. Venus will be the brightest “star” you can see over in the western sky (WSW to be precise).
For extra credit – Try to see the planet Venus shortly BEFORE sunset (it can be done). First find the Moon (that will likely be easier than finding Venus before sunset) – and then with that as a guide-post look a little over to the left for the planet Venus. Venus is about 8 degrees away from the Moon. Your closed fist at arms length covers up about 10 degrees of the sky so that will be agreat tool to help you find Venus. Just cover up the Moon with the right side of your fist and look to the left side of your fist (you may need to move it a little so it’s not actually covering up Venus). Let me know if you could see it!
For Extra Extra Credit – can you see “Earthshine” on the moon? Although the Moon is just a few days old, and there will be only a very slim crescent showing, can you see (even a little) the unlit portion of the moons surface? That is being lit by reflected sunlight from the Earth!
I can confirm that I could easily view Venus a good 25 minutes prior to sunset. I followed my own instructions – and there was Venus. Several others in the park also got their first experience of viewing a planet in broad daylight. Cool!
Earthshine was also clearly visible tonight – although you had to wait until about 6pm.
So… I got the extra credit. Did you?