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April 26 new moon is a supermoon

New moon will happen on April 26 at 12:16 UTC. It’s 2017’s first supermoon, that is, a moon particularly close to Earth. Expect larger than usual tides to follow this new moon.

View larger. | Youngest possible lunar crescent, with the moon's age being exactly zero when this photo was taken — at the precise moment of the new moon - at 07:14 UTC on July 8, 2013.  Image by Thierry Legault.  Visit his website.  Used with permission.

Youngest possible lunar crescent, with the moon’s age being exactly zero when this photo was taken — at the instant of new moon – 0714 UTC on July 8, 2013. Image by Thierry Legault. Visit his website.

A moon at the new phase comes most nearly – for any particular month – to passing between the Earth and sun. Next new moon is April 26, 2017 at 12:16 UTC; translate to your time zone. This new moon will be 2017’s first supermoon. You thought only full moons could be supermoons? Nope. The moon can come close to Earth at the new phase as well, and, at such times, the moon’s effect on earthly tides is particularly strong. Read more about the April 26 supermoon.

Modern techniques – telescopes, filters, photography – have made it possible to see the moon even at the instant it becomes. That’s the case with Thierry Legault’s image, above, which he acquired in 2013. Read more about the image here.

But – for most of us, on the day of new moon – unless we’re viewing an eclipse of the sun, we won’t see the new moon. That’s because a new moon rises when the sun rises. It sets when the sun sets. It crosses the sky with the sun during the day.

A new moon is too close to the sun’s glare to be visible with the eye.

Composite image of a 2006 solar eclipse by Fred Espenak.  Read his article on the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse, first one visible from contiguous North America since 1979.

The next solar eclipse will be total and visible from North America. It’ll be the first total solar eclipse visible from contiguous North America since 1979. Read more about the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. Composite image of a 2006 solar eclipse by Fred Espenak.

It’s only as the moon moves in orbit, as its lighted hemisphere begins to come into view from Earth, that we can see it in our sky. Then we see the moon in the west after sunset as a slim waxing crescent – what some call a young moon.

Watch for the young moon to return later this week! And – because this new moon is a supermoon – watch for larger-than-usual tides to happen around Thursday, Friday or the weekend …

When the April young moon returns, it’ll pass near the planet Mars, the Pleiades star cluster and the star Aldebaran. You’ll need to look west very shortly after sunset. Read more.

As the moon orbits Earth, it changes phase in an orderly way. Follow these links to understand the various phases of the moon.

Four keys to understanding moon phases

Where’s the moon? Waxing crescent
Where’s the moon? First quarter
Where’s the moon? Waxing gibbous
What’s special about a full moon?
Where’s the moon? Waning gibbous
Where’s the moon? Last quarter
Where’s the moon? Waning crescent
Where’s the moon? New phase

Total eclipse of the sun: August 21, 2017

Moon in 2017: Phases, cycles, eclipses, supermoons and more

Deborah Byrd

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