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New Moon

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

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 unilluminated.

Over coming days, the Moon will rise and set an hour later each day, becoming visible in the late afternoon and dusk sky as a waxing crescent which sets soon after the Sun. By first quarter, in a week's time, it will be visible until around midnight.

Its day-by-day progress is charted below, with all times are given below in Ashburn local time.

Date Sun
sets at
sets at
Altitude of Moon
at sunset
Direction of Moon
at sunset
28 Mar 201719:2318:53-12°west
29 Mar 201719:2420:01west
30 Mar 201719:2521:1212°west
31 Mar 201719:2622:2125°west
01 Apr 201719:2723:3038°west
02 Apr 201719:2800:3850°south-west
03 Apr 201719:2900:3860°south-west

At the moment of closest approach, it will pass within 2°56'of the Sun, in the constellation Cetus. The exact positions of the Sun and Moon will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
The Moon 00h31m40s +00°13' Cetus 32'27"
Sun (centre) 00h27m +02°55' Pisces 32'02"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 27 March 2017
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

29-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


29 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:37 14:17 20:58
Venus 06:16 12:47 19:19
Moon 07:01 12:57 18:53
Mars 08:31 15:28 22:24
Jupiter 20:17 02:04 07:47
Saturn 01:52 06:38 11:25
All times shown in EDT.


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 using the DE405 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.

Related news

27 Mar 2017, 22:59 EDT  –  New Moon
03 Apr 2017, 14:41 EDT  –  Moon at First Quarter
11 Apr 2017, 02:10 EDT  –  Full Moon
19 Apr 2017, 05:58 EDT  –  Moon at Last Quarter

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