Starwatch: look out for the waning crescent moon passing Taurus

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This is one for super early birds. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, a waning crescent moon will pass through the constellation of Taurus, the bull. Waning moons rise later and later throughout the night-time hours.

The chart shows the view looking east from London at 0300 BST. Sunrise is still 87 minutes away but the sky will already have begun its slow creep towards dawn. On Tuesday morning, 27% of the moon’s visible surface will be illuminated, making it an attractive crescent. It will be positioned just above the head of Taurus, which is marked out by the V-shaped star cluster called the Hyades.

The bright orange star Aldebaran, which is not part of the Hyades, marks the eye of Taurus. This constellation is one of the very oldest star patterns. It was listed as the Bull of Heaven in the MUL.APIN, a Babylonian compendium of astronomy compiled somewhere around 1,000BC.

Observers in the southern hemisphere will also be able to see the moon. Look to the north-eastern sky at about 5am. On Wednesday and Thursday mornings, the moon will be sliding towards Gemini and its illuminated crescent will have contracted to an even more beautiful sliver.

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