What’s that bright star near the moon this morning? It’s Venus. The image above shows the pair at 4:50 a.m. CDT as seen from the Chicago area. (Click the image to see it larger.) Notice the night portion of the moon is gently illuminated. As see from the moon our planet is nearing its full phase. The bright sunlight reflected from Earth falls on the night portion of the moon. This effect is called “Earthshine.” A similar glow appears when the moon is bright in our sky. Sunlight reflected from the moon falls in the night portion to gently illuminate it. Take a walk when the moon is nearly full, you’ll see your shadow from the bright moonlight.
Tomorrow morning the pair appears close together.
For more about the planets see: