New moon comes on February 26 at 14:58 UTC. Translate to your time zone. This new moon will cause an eclipse of the sun, which would be a total eclipse if the moon were close enough to Earth in its orbit to cover the sun completely. Alas, it is not, and the eclipse is only annular. That is, at mid-eclipse, an outer edge of the sun will appear in a ring around the moon. The eclipse will be viewed from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere. Click here for eclipse times and more.
What will the rest of us see? On the day of any new moon, unless we’re viewing an eclipse, we can’t see the moon with the eye alone for several reasons. First, at new moon, the 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. 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.
If the moon always passed directly between the sun and Earth at new moon, a solar eclipse would take place every month. But that doesn’t happen every month. Instead, in most months, the moon passes above or below the sun as seen from our earthly vantage point.
2017’s second solar eclipse will take place on August 21, exactly six lunar or synodic months (new moons) after the February 26 solar eclipse. This six-month eclipse cycle is called the semester, by the way.
Modern techniques – telescopes, filters, photography – have made it possible to see the moon even at the instant of new moon. That’s the case with Thierry Legault’s image, below, which he acquired in 2013. Read more about that image here.
As the moon orbits Earth, it changes phase in an orderly way. Follow these links to understand the various phases of the moon.
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 created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and 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.