For North America, March 2, 2014 presents a golden opportunity to catch a young moon in the western sky after sunset. At northerly latitudes in the Eastern Hemisphere – Europe and Asia – people also have a good chance of catching the waxing crescent moon after sunset, though it’ll set sooner after the sun than it does in North America. Start your search 45 minutes or sooner after sunset. Tonight’s young moon will be hard, if not impossible, to spot from temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere.
There’s a wonderful consolation prize, should you not catch the young moon after sunset – or even if you do. The dazzling planet Jupiter will appear high in the southern sky at dusk and nightfall. (From the Southern Hemisphere, Jupiter will appear in the northern sky.) Jupiter shines in front of the constellation Gemini the Twins, making a line with the stars Betelgeuse and Rigel in the constellation Orion.
You’ll have all evening, and then some, for viewing Jupiter, but you have to catch tonight’s young moon at dusk and/or early evening.
You should be able to see tonight’s young moon with just your eye. If you have binoculars, bring them along to help you to scan for the moon in the glare of evening twilight. Note where the sun sets on the horizon and then scan above the sunset point as dusk ebbs toward darkness.
If all goes well, you may catch the moon 30 minutes or sooner after sundown.
As seen from much of the world on March 2, 2014, tonight’s waxing crescent moon will be moon’s first appearance in the March 2014 evening sky. The new moon came to pass on March 1, at 8:00 Universal Time. Translating to the clock times at US times zones, the moon turned new on March 1, at 3:00 a.m. EST, 2:00 a.m. CST, 1:00 a.m. MST or 0:00 (midnight) PST.
From North America, this slender moon will be about 4% illuminated in sunshine, but for much of Asia, it’ll be less 2% illuminated – a fragile and beautiful sight reminiscent of all new beginnings!
Bottom line: Watch for the young crescent moon low in the west after sunset on March 2, 2014. Awesome photo opportunity.