The planet Venus is now, in late April, at its brightest. It appears in the western sky just after dark and into the evening. While it shines brilliantly, actually only about 1/4 of Venus is illuminated. We are seeing only a crescent of Venus.
Why is Venus brightest when we are seeing only 1/4 of the planet illuminated? It's because Venus and the earth are very close now. When Venus is full, it is very far away, on the opposite side of the sun. Now Venus and Earth are on the same side of the sun.
Gazing into the night sky, especially with binoculars or a telescope, is one of the simplest but most awe inspiring things we can do. You can see the stars and planets best from a very dark place, where there are no streetlights, businesses, headlights, or other forms of "light pollution."