Thanksgiving may be history, but stargazers will find there's another bountiful feast to be had in tonight's sky. Just after sundown, those in pockets with clear skies should see a tight clustering of the crescent moon and the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter.

Columnist David Wakefield of the Hartford Courant recommends gazing southwest an hour after sunset. And Joe Rao of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City advises trying to catch this "celestial summit" as early as 5:00 P.M. in most latitudes. (In some far northern locales, the sun will be more than an hour gone by that time.) Both write that the merger will be a brief one, with Wakefield noting that it will last "only a couple of hours before Venus, the lower planet, leads the others below the horizon."

UPDATE (December 2, 2008): Click here to see a photograph of the December 1 celestial grouping.

Crescent moon image courtesy of NASA