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Where’s the moon? Waning crescent

The moon has passed several planets before dawn and it’s now waning toward a partial solar eclipse on February 15.

Old moon with earthshine, captured by Najwa Nazri at Telok Kemang Observatory, Port Dickson, Malaysia on February 12, 2018.

Have you been watching the old moon? That’s the name for a waning crescent moon, seen in the east before dawn.

This month’s old moon has just swept past some planets before dawn. It was closest to Jupiter Mars around February 7 to 9, and closest to Saturn on February 11.

Each morning, the moon showed us less and less of its lighted side each morning, and rising closer to the sunrise. It’s heading toward new moon on February 15. This upcoming new moon will cause a partial solar eclipse on February 15.

Dunca Tolmie in Australia caught this image of the planets and moon on February 9, 2018 and wrote: “Jupiter, Mars, the moon and Saturn amonst the stars of Scorpius and Sagittarius (the Teapot is standing on its handle to the right of Saturn). A handful of Messier objects are also visible.”

Marcus Rose in Bangalore, India also caught the moon and planets on February 9, 2018, but from a more northerly location on Earth’s globe than the image above. Jupiter is the bright object above and to the right of the moon. Mars is the reddish object below and to the right (brightest “star” near the bottom of the image).

Moon and Saturn Sunday morning – February 11, 2018 – from Paul Dawson in Boise, Idaho. More moon and Saturn photos here.

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