Astronomy News Sky Notes The Earth-Moon System The Moon

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New Moon

Sat, 01 Mar 2014 at03:01 EST(637 days ago)
08:01 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Moon feed

This event is not observable at present from Ashburn.Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun
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The Moon will pass close to the Sun and become lost in the Sun's glare for a few days.

The Moon's orbital motion carries it around the Earth once every four weeks, and as a result its phases cycle from new moon, through first quarter, full moon and last quarter, back to new moon once every 29.5 days.

This motion also means that the Moon travels more than 12° across the sky from one night to the next, causing it to rise and set nearly an hour later each day. Click here for more information about the Moon's phases.

At new moon, the Earth, Moon and Sun all lie in a roughly straight line, with the Moon in the middle, appearing in front of the Sun's glare. In this configuration, we see almost exactly the opposite half of the Moon to that which is illuminated by the Sun, making it doubly unobservable because the side we see is almost entirely unilluminated.

Over coming days, the Moon will become visible in the late afternoon and dusk sky as a waxing crescent, setting an hour later each evening. By first quarter, in a week's time, it will be visible until around midnight. The times below are given in Ashburn local time:

Date Sun
sets at
sets at
Altitude of Moon
at sunset
Direction of Moon
at sunset
01 Mar 201417:5718:30west
02 Mar 201417:5819:4012°west
03 Mar 201417:5920:4724°west
04 Mar 201418:0021:5237°west
05 Mar 201418:0122:5647°south-west
06 Mar 201418:0223:5457°south-west
07 Mar 201418:0300:5065°south-west

At the moment of closest approach, it will pass within 3°51' of the Sun, in the constellation Aquarius. The exact positions of the Sun and Moon will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
The Moon 22h42m00s -04°04' Aquarius 32'57"
Sun (centre) 22h47m -07°38' Aquarius 32'16"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 1 March 2014
Sunrise: 06:41
Sunset: 18:01
Twilight from 05:13
until 19:29
All times shown in EST.

30-day old moon
Age of Moon:
30 days



Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.


The circumstances of this event were computed from the DE405 ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

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Image credit

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