The waning crescent moon will brighten the night sky after midnight tonight. Near the moon, you will see Jupiter, which is sometimes called the King of Planets.
The darkness after midnight and before daybreak belongs to the waning crescent moon and Jupiter. They will outshine all else in the morning sky. They will appear in the east after midnight tonight and steadily climb into the sky until dawn breaks.
Jupiter is the solar system’s largest planet, more massive than all the other planets, moons, and other debris combined. And we’re lucky to have it. Astronomers believe that its gravitational presence has kept Earth safe by sending asteroids and comets out of the solar system. A few still got through (sorry, dinosaurs!), but the impact history of Earth wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
The image at right shows Jupiter in a gibbous phase. This view of Jupiter can never be seen from Earth, even through telescopes. Our vantage point on Jupiter – as seen from Earth orbit – only allows us to see Jupiter at full or nearly full phase. Instead, an earthly spacecraft – the Cassini mission to Saturn – obtained this image of Jupiter when it ...