UK treated to brilliant early-morning glimpse of Venus next to the Moon

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Britons have united in wonder at the universe, as they woke up to stunning views of a planet millions of miles away and a satellite slightly closer to home.

Early-risers took to Twitter to share images of a brightly twinkling Venus alongside a dazzling crescent moon.

One user wrote: “Leaving for work at 6.45am has its perks,” as she posted an image of the two celestial bodies side-by-side amid pale blue dawn skies.

BBC weather presenters Carol Kirkwood and Simon King were among the scores of people to post snaps of the phenomenon.

The sightings came as Mars appeared bigger and brighter than usual due to a process called opposition.

Sharing a patchwork of pictures from across the UK, Mr King wrote: “Mars was shining bright as it went into ‘opposition’ […] and Venus was bright next to the crescent moon.”

“Opposition” is when Mars and the sun are on directly opposite sides of Earth – a process which occurs approximately every 26 months.

It makes the Red Planet look more striking and was due to reach its peak visibility at around 1am on Wednesday, according to the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

Astronomer Hannah Banyard confirmed: “The next time you will be able to see Mars as big and bright will be 2033.”

The Standard has contacted the observatory for more information about the views of Venus.