An Early Evening Quest

What is the youngest crescent Moon that you have seen? This is something I have heard about others seeing off and on most of my life. I thought, well that’s cool but never really thought about it in time to check it out for myself.  Every few years I would hear about someone who had seen a really thin crescent Moon and this time I saw a prediction for spotting a young Moon before it happened this past November.

It was Saturday, November 26, 2011 and it was cloudy all afternoon with rain in the forecast for Sunday, when it started clearing near sunset. It so happened that it did clear enough to see both the Moon and Venus that evening. The time was 5:35pm, about a half hour after sunset when I first spotted the thin crescent Moon. Although the Moon was visible to the naked eye using my 10×50 binoculars, the Moon with Venus in the haze and thin clouds was a stunning sight. Using the binoculars enabled me to see the earthshine on the dark portion of the moon, creating what is called the Old Moon in the New Moon’s arms. I think I am now hooked, this is fun spotting the young moon and it was only 40.4 hours old.

It is now December and the New Moon was at 1:07pm EST December 24, 2011. On Christmas day the Moon would be 28.1 hours old at sunset but it was cloudy all day and into the evening. It would also be partly cloudy on Monday, December 26th but I spotted the Moon through the clouds about 45 minutes after sunset at 6:05pm EST. The Moon was still only 52.96 hours old then. Even so December’s sighting was still very beautiful, although it was a little disappointing that it was cloudy on Christmas.

I am now all primed for January’s attempt to sight an early crescent Moon. New Moon will occur on the 23rd at 2:40am Eastern Standard Time. On Monday January 23 at sunset, the young crescent Moon will only be about 15 hours old. Let’s hope for clear skies that Monday evening. Even if it is clouded out on Monday, Tuesday, January the 24th at sunset will show us a young crescent that is only about 39 hours old. Why not try to see if you can see this young crescent Moon and let me know what you see.

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