I do not normally engage in the astronomical sport of trying to spot the youngest crescent moon just after the monthly new moon phase, or to see the thin waning crescent just before new moon in the morning sky before sunrise . “New Moon” is when the moon’s orbital motion carries it north or south of the sun’s disc (or in front of it during an eclipse). The challenge is that the lunar crescent is exceedingly thin at these times, and very difficult to see against the still-bright sky where the sun just set (or is about to rise).
With a clear night approaching and the moon just past new, I thought I would give it a try on July 29, 2022. New Moon had occurred at about 1 PM local time on the 28th. That very evening would have been much too soon to try, so after sunset the following evening I set up my 600 mm ED refractor with camera in an open area of the wildlife habitat behind my studio. Scouring the western horizon with binoculars, it took me an embarrassingly long ten minutes to spot the moon between the branches of a dead tree. I probably needed the additional time for the sky to darken a bit more. After grabbing some shots at that location, I moved a few yards to the right (the dead tree wasn't working right). This was one of the images from that second location.
The slender wisp of a crescent was breathtaking! The 33-hour-old moon was probably my personal best at young moon spotting, but it is nowhere near to the record of 15 hours and 32 minutes—and this was with the unaided eye (I needed binoculars)! The record for using binoculars is 11 hours and 40 minutes, from a mountaintop in Iran.
You may also wish to view another crescent moon image in my Astrophotography collection, titled "The Old Moon in the New Moon's Arms". It is of a slightly older-- more of an "ankle-biter-aged" moon, showing the beautiful phenomena of earthshine on the lunar nightside.
NOTE: The Fine Art America watermark seen in the lower right corner of the image does not appear on the prints or other products.
September 12th, 2022
Viewed 56 Times - Last Visitor from Wilmington, DE on 11/28/2023 at 4:38 PM