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.
Observing the Moon in the days after new moon
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 daily progress is charted below, with all times are given in Cambridge local time.
|Altitude of Moon
|Direction of Moon
|19 Jul 2031||20:16||20:02||-2°||north-west|
|20 Jul 2031||20:15||20:33||3°||west|
|21 Jul 2031||20:14||21:01||8°||west|
|22 Jul 2031||20:14||21:28||13°||west|
|23 Jul 2031||20:13||21:55||18°||west|
|24 Jul 2031||20:12||22:22||22°||south-west|
|25 Jul 2031||20:11||22:51||25°||south-west|
The exact moment of new moon
At the moment of closest approach, it will pass within 4°24' of the Sun, in the constellation Gemini. The celestial coordinates of the Sun and Moon will be:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Angular Size|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.
The sky on 19 Jul 2031
|The sky on 19 July 2031|
30 days old
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 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.
|19 Jul 2031||– New Moon|
|27 Jul 2031||– Moon at First Quarter|
|02 Aug 2031||– Full Moon|
|09 Aug 2031||– Moon at Last Quarter|
Simulated image courtesy of Tom Ruen.