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Saturday night’s extremely young moon

Photo and animation of an extremely young moon – only 18 hours past the new phase – setting over a hill last night, as seen from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Photo of young moon on June 24, 2017 by Helio C. Vital.

The June 2017 new moon came on June 24 at 02:31 UTC; translate to your time zone. Thus, from some parts of the world, there was an opportunity this month for catching sight of an extremely “young” moon, that is, a moon seen less than 24 hours from the new phase. Such a moon is seen very, very low in the west after sunset. Helio C. Vital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil did catch this month’s young moon! He wrote of the photo and animation on this page:

They show the extremely thin sliver of the new moon only 0.8 % illuminated and 3-7° above the west-northwestern horizon of Rio de Janeiro. Clouds prevented me from getting nicer photos, still I managed to get some interesting ones. The photos show the moon only 18 hours old, just before setting over a hill in Rio de Janeiro. A Canon SX60 HS camera was used with settings, adjusted for high dynamic range in order to increase contrast and bring out the silhouette of the moon.

In addition to the photos, I created some animations (using PhotoScape) to give a better idea of what the moon was like.

Photos were taken from 17:11 to 17:42 (UTC-3h); thus, 18 hours after new moon.

Thank you, Helio! I also saw an 18-hour moon once and know it is an extremely ghostly and wonderful sight.

Animation of young moon on June 24, 2017 by Helio C. Vital.

By the way, a longstanding – though somewhat doubtful – record for youngest moon seen with the eye was held by two British housemaids, said to have seen the moon 14-and-three-quarter hours after new moon in the year 1916. Even younger moons were seen later in the century by reputable observers. Nowadays, astrophotographers using telescopes and modern photographic equipment have obliterated the record for young moon sightings: there is at least one known photo from a reputable astrophotographer taken at the exact instant the moon was new. See that photo – from Thierry Legault – here.

Bottom line: Photo and animation of an extremely young moon – only 18 hours past the new phase – setting over a hill on June 24, 2017, as seen from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Deborah Byrd

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