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Go young moon hunting on February 9

2016-february-9-young-moon-in-west

Tonight is Feb 10, 2016

Moon Phase Courtesy U.S. Naval Observatory

Tonight, look for the young moon. The February, 2016, new moon came to pass on February 8 at 14:39 Universal Time. For us in the United States, that translates to February 8 at 9:39 a.m. EST, 8:39 a.m. CST, 7:39 a.m. MST and 6:39 a.m. PST. So as the sun sets on February 9, the moon will be well over one day old.

Given an unobstructed horizon in the direction of sunset, and a clear sky, the thin waxing crescent moon will appear low in the sky and close to the horizon around one hour (or sooner) after sunset. Because the view is sometimes murky near the horizon, binoculars may come in handy for sweeping for the February 9 young moon near the sunset horizon.

At comparable latitudes in the world’s Eastern Hemisphere – Europe, Africa and Asia – the young moon will exhibit a thinner crescent hovering closer to the horizon. Click here to find out the time of moonset in your sky.

On the average, the moon moves some 13o eastward per day in front of the backdrop stars of the Zodiac.

Meanwhile, as seen from Earth, the sun appears to move one degree eastward per day along the ecliptic. In other words, the moon moves an average 12o east of the sun daily.

For reference, the angular diameter of the sun and moon span about one-half degree of sky.

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Day by day, watch the waxing crescent moon climb upward, farther away from the setting sun. The green line depicts the ecliptic.

Day by day, watch the waxing crescent moon climb upward, farther away from the setting sun. The green line depicts the ecliptic.

If you miss the young moon on February 9, try again on February 10 or 11. Day by day, the moon will move farther east of the setting sun, to appear higher in the west after the sun goes down.

By the way, the new moon on February 8 passed to the north of the sun; but one month from now, the moon will swing directly in front of the sun, to stage a total solar eclipse in Indonesia on March 9, 2016.

Supermoon total solar eclipse March 8-9

Worldwide map of the solar eclipse of 2016 March 9

The slender ribbon of blue  shows the path of the total solar eclipse during the daylight hours on March 9, 2016. Outside the path of totality, a partial eclipse can be seen to the north of the total eclipse path (southwest Asia, Korea, Japan, Hawaii and Alaska) and south of the total eclipse path (much of Australia). Image credit: NASA eclipse web site

The slender ribbon of blue shows the path of the total solar eclipse during the daylight hours on March 9, 2016. Outside the path of totality, a partial eclipse can be seen to the north of the total eclipse path (southwest Asia, Korea, Japan, Hawaii and Alaska) and south of the total eclipse path (much of Australia). Image credit: NASA eclipse web site

Bottom line: Given an unobstructed horizon in the direction of sunset, and a clear sky, the thin waxing crescent moon should appear low in the sky and close to the horizon around one hour (or less) after sunset.

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