Simulated image courtesy of Tom Ruen.

New Moon

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Moon feed

Objects: The Moon
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The sky at

The Moon will pass close to the Sun and become lost in the its 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. More information about the Moon's phases is available here.

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 become 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 in Cambridge local time.

Date Sun
sets at
sets at
Altitude of Moon
at sunset
Direction of Moon
at sunset
13 Jan 202116:3717:02south-west
14 Jan 202116:3718:1513°south-west
15 Jan 202116:3819:2422°south-west
16 Jan 202116:3820:2931°south-west
17 Jan 202116:4221:3239°south
18 Jan 202116:4322:3445°south
19 Jan 202116:4323:3650°south

At the moment of closest approach, it will pass within 2°52' of the Sun, in the constellation Sagittarius. The celestial coordinates of the Sun and Moon will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
The Moon 19h41m00s -24°19' Sagittarius 31'55"
Sun (centre) 19h39m -21°29' Sagittarius 32'31"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 13 January 2021
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

30-day old moon
Waning Crescent


30 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:09 12:54 17:40
Venus 06:04 10:35 15:07
Moon 07:49 12:23 17:02
Mars 11:19 18:13 01:06
Jupiter 07:54 12:43 17:31
Saturn 07:47 12:33 17:20
All times shown in EST.


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 DE430 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

13 Jan 2021  –  New Moon
20 Jan 2021  –  Moon at First Quarter
21 Jan 2021  –  The Moon at apogee
28 Jan 2021  –  Full Moon

Image credit

Simulated image courtesy of Tom Ruen.






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