The first “star” to pop out after sunset on these May 2014 evenings is not a star. It’s the planet Jupiter. Given clear skies, you should have no trouble seeing this bright world in the west at dusk. Meanwhile, it’ll take a deliberate effort to spot the planet Mercury below Jupiter. And you’ll need to look carefully indeed – at just the right moment after sunset – to catch the young moon near the horizon on May 29, 2014. Binoculars and a totally unobstructed western horizon may be needed for fulfilling tonight’s young moon quest. The farther west you live in North America, the easier it’ll be for you to spot the May 29 young moon.
The moon turned new yesterday – May 28, 2014 – at 18:40 Universal Time. At U.S. time zones, that translates to May 28, at 2:40 p.m. EDT, 1:40 p.m. CDT, 12:40 a.m. MDT or 11:40 a.m. PDT. On May 29, the day after new moon, the waxing crescent moon lies just east of the setting sun. At best, tonight’s moon will appear as a whisker-thin lunar crescent, palely smiling in the harsh glow of evening twilight. You might need binoculars to spot the May 29 waxing crescent moon – if it’s visible at all. You’ll surely want those binoculars to scan carefully for the young moon in the twilight, shortly after the sun goes down.
In North America, your best bet for catching the young moon will be along the West Coast. Even so, it’ll set less than one hour after sunset. The moon will set even sooner on the American East Coast, and sooner yet in Europe and Asia.
If you don’t spot the moon beneath Jupiter and Mercury after sunset on May 29, try again on May 30. On that night, as a wider crescent moon will shine closer to the planet Mercury.
Bottom line: It won’t be easy to spot the young moon in the west after sunset on May 29. If you live in North America, along the West Coast – or in Alaska or Hawaii – you might be able to do it! Otherwise, you’ll have to hunt carefully in the twilight for this very slim moon, just one day old.