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Norfolk astronomer captures the Moon and Venus illuminated in early morning sky

PUBLISHED: 13:39 04 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:24 04 December 2018

The crescent Moon and Venus appeared in the East on the morning of December 4. Photo: Mark Thompson

The crescent Moon and Venus appeared in the East on the morning of December 4. Photo: Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson

The spectacle made the two objects seem to be close despite the fact that they are millions of kilometres apart.

The crescent Moon and Venus appeared in the East on the morning of December 4. Photo: Mark ThompsonThe crescent Moon and Venus appeared in the East on the morning of December 4. Photo: Mark Thompson

On the morning on December 4, the crescent Moon and Venus rose before the sun in the east treating early risers to a spectacle in the sky.

Astronomer Mark Thompson, from south Norfolk, captured a stunning image of the occasion and explained what was causing the bright illumination of both objects.

He said: “We see both the Moon and Venus because they reflect sunlight. A crescent moon is often seen and often, the dark portion of the Moon remains invisible to us.

“On occasions however, sunlight that is reflected off the Earth can gently illuminate the dark portion of the Moon. We call this earthshine and that could be seen this morning.

“Venus is a planet that appears bright in our sky because it is covered in reflective cloud. Both objects appeared close in our sky even though they are about 64 million kilometres apart.

“Their presence in a brightening twilight sky gave just the right level of contrast to make them appear stunning in the dawn sky.”

Have you captured an astronomical event on camera? Email norwichwebteam.co.uk

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