What Is the Bright Planet Next to the Moon?

Depending on the time of year and phase of the moon, Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter or Saturn may appear as a bright planet next to the moon in the night sky. For example, in April 2014, Saturn appeared just to the lower-left of a gibbous moon.

At the end of May 2014, during a waxing crescent phase, Mercury appeared a few degrees to the right of the moon. Venus, most visible in the early morning hours, was located near the moon at the end of July 2014 during a crescent moon phase. Venus is the brightest planet in the night sky.