Look to the southwest after sunset on Dec. 1 for a close conjunction between three bright solar system objects: the moon, Venus and Jupiter. If you have binoculars, you might even be able to fit all three of them in the field of view. Between now and then, you can see Jupiter and Venus getting closer together each evening.

Every once in a while, something will appear in the night sky that will attract the attention of even those who normally don’t bother looking up. It’s likely to be that way on Monday evening, Dec. 1.

A slender crescent moon, just 15 percent illuminated, will appear in very close proximity to the two brightest planets in our sky, Venus and Jupiter.

People who are unaware or have no advance notice will almost certainly wonder, as they cast a casual glance toward the moon on that night, what those two “large silvery stars” happen to be? Sometimes, such an occasion brings with it a sudden spike of phone calls to local planetariums, weather offices and even police precincts. Not a few of these calls excitedly inquire about “the UFOs” that are hovering in the vicinity of our natural satellite — [Hat Tip: Joe Rao/MSNBC]

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