I went out to my front yard not long ago to catch a flare from Iridium 34 at 5:49:49 p.m. EST. About five minutes later, my wife and I viewed Venus through my 80mm f/5 Orion ShortTube achromatic refractor, an 8-24mm Vixen zoom eyepiece, and a 6mm Tele Vue Delos eyepiece.
Venus is currently 39% illuminated and is 31 arc seconds in apparent size. Its waning crescent shape was readily noticeable through the 6mm Delos (67x). Zooming in with the Vixen ocular, I first noted a crescent shape at a focal length of about 18mm (22x). The second-magnitude star Nunki (Sigma Sagittarii) was visible in the same field of view, about 15 arc minutes to the northeast of Venus.
As Venus approaches inferior conjunction on January 11, 2014, it will wax in apparent size to more than one arc minute as it wanes in phase to a tiny sliver.
Sic itur ad astra!
Chance favors the prepared mind.
A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.