Here is a wonderful sketch and description that I have just received from my very good friend, Frank 🙂

Moon, Mars and Venus on the Last Evening of January 2017


From southern Chicagoland so far in 2017, a clear sky has been a very rare and brief event.  After a cloudy month the sky cleared for about 45 minutes just past sunset. It was obvious with approaching clouds from the northwest this was going to be a brief opportunity so with my sketching kit in hand and without a scope, I was outside quickly to captures this view to my southwest.

The waxing crescent Moon was about -8 visual magnitude and almost 4 days past new. Planet Venus was dazzling at -4.7 magnitude and receding Mars was about first magnitude.

All three targets fit inside a circle of 5 degrees. This was a beautiful sight in the deepening twilight.


The Moon, Mars & Venus




Naked eye sketch

Sky conditions were good with respect to transparency 8/10, some wind gusts

Date and Time: 01/31/2017; 5:30pm – 6:10pm local time

Materials used: 8″ x 10″ blue sketching paper, Gray pastel pencil,

White and black Conte’ crayon, yellow and orange pencils, gum eraser and clipboard.


Frank McCabe