When the moon is most nearly between the Earth and sun for any particular month, astronomers say it is new.
We don’t see a new moon in the sky, unless there’s a solar eclipse, with the moon directly in front of the sun. The image above shows a new moon, not in eclipse, but taken by an expert using special equipment.
Most of the time, the new moon passes not in front of the sun, but simply near it in our sky. Either way – in front of the sun or just near it – on the day of new moon, the moon travels across the sky with the sun during the day, hidden in the sun’s glare.
In the language of astronomy – a day or two after each month’s new moon – a slim crescent moon always becomes visible in the west after sunset. Astronomers call this slim crescent a young moon.
New moons, and young moons, are fascinating to many. The Farmer’s Almanac, for example, still offers information on gardening by the moon. And many cultures have holidays based on moon phases.
And, of course, many look forward to the return of the moon to the evening sky. This always happens a day or two after new moon.
As the moon orbits Earth, it changes phase in an orderly way. Follow the links below to understand the phases of the moon.
Bottom line: The next new moon is September 9, 2018, at 18:01 UTC; translate UTC to your time.
Check out EarthSky’s guide to the bright planets.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.