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New moon is January 16-17

This new moon is most nearly between the Earth and sun for this month. It crosses the sky with the sun during the day.

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.

After dazzling us with its recent sweep past the morning planets, the moon will turn new again on January 17, 2017 at 2:17 UTC (translate UTC to your time zone). For us at North American and U.S. time zones, that time translates to January 16 at:

22:17 (10:17 p.m.) AST
21:17 (9:17 p.m.) EST
20:17 (8:17 p.m.) CST
19:17 (7:17 p.m.) MST
18:17 (6:17 p.m.) PST
17:17 (5:17 p.m.) AKST
16:17 (4:17 p.m.) HST

A moon at the new phase comes most nearly – for any particular month – to passing between the Earth and sun.

The new moon on January 16-17, 2018 brings to an end the longest lunar month of the 21st century (2001 to 2100), which began with the new moon on December 18, 2017. This lunar month lasted for 29 days, 19 hours and 47 minutes.

The new moon on January 16-17, 2018, also begins the longest complete lunar month of 2018, which will end with the new moon on February 15. Its duration will be 29 days 18 hours and 48 minutes.

When will you next see the moon? You might see it on the evening of January 17, exceedingly close to the sunset. More likely, you’ll see it on January 18 or 19. Read more.

New moons come once each month, as the moon orbits Earth. On the day of new moon – unless we’re viewing a total solar eclipse, we don’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. Its fully illuminated face, or day side, is turned entirely away from us.

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

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.

Total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 by Fred Espenak at the Tate Geological Museum at Casper College, Wyoming, 1st one visible from contiguous North America since 1979. Every total solar eclipse, including this one – was caused by a new moon.

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

Deborah Byrd

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