Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

213,808 subscribers and counting ...

Where’s the moon? Waning crescent

A waning crescent moon is sometimes called an old moon. It’s seen in the east before dawn.

Waning crescent moon on the morning of June 30, 2016 - shortly after it rose in the east, over North Carolina - from our friend Greg Diesel Walck - Lunar/Landscape Photographer.

Waning crescent moon on the morning of June 30, 2016 – shortly after it rose in the east, over North Carolina – from our friend Greg Diesel Walck – Lunar/Landscape Photographer.

A waning crescent moon is sometimes called an old moon. It’s seen in the east before dawn.

At this moon phase, the moon has moved nearly entirely around in its orbit of Earth, as measured from one new moon to the next. The next new moon will be July 4, 2016 at 1104 UTC. Translate to your time zone.

Because the moon is nearly on a line with the Earth and sun again, the day hemisphere of the moon is facing mostly away from us once more. We see only a slender fraction of the moon’s day side: a crescent moon.

Each morning before dawn, because the moon is moving eastward in orbit around Earth, the moon appears closer to the sunrise glare. We see less and less of the moon’s day side, and thus the crescent in the east before dawn appears thinner each day.

The moon, as always, is rising in the east day after day. But most people won’t see this moon phase unless they get up early. When the sun comes up, and the sky grows brighter, the waning crescent moon fades. Now the moon is so near the Earth/sun line that the sun’s glare is drowning this slim moon from view.

Still, the waning crescent is up there, nearly all day long, moving ahead of the sun across the sky’s dome. It sets in the west several hours or less before sunset.

June 30, 2016 moonrise over Toronto from our friend Lunar 101 - MoonBook.

June 30, 2016 moonrise over Toronto from our friend Lunar 101 – MoonBook.

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

Moon in 2016: Phases, cycles, eclipses, supermoons and more

Deborah Byrd

MORE ARTICLES