As seen on Astronomy Picture of the Day this conjunction of Moon and bright planet Venus on the last evening of 2008 promised exciting time for the new year, the International year of Astronomy 2009. Seen here in dark, clear, mountain air from Mönichkirchen, Austria, are the two celestial beacons that dominate planet Earth’s night sky. This single, 5 second long exposure seriously overexposes the Moon’s sunlit crescent, but it does capture another planet not visible to the unaided eye. The tiny pinprick of light just above the photographer’s head in the picture is the distant planet Neptune.



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