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New moon is June 13

The upcoming new moon is June 13, 2018, at 19:43 UTC. Will you see it? No, it crosses the sky with the sun during the day. The difference between new moons and young moons, here.

View larger. | Youngest possible lunar crescent, with the moon's age being exactly zero when this photo was taken — at the precise moment of the new moon - at 7:14 a.m. UTC on July 8, 2013.  Image by Thierry Legault.  Visit his website.  Used with permission.

Youngest possible lunar crescent, with the moon’s age being exactly zero when this photo was taken — at the instant of new moon – 07:14 UTC on July 8, 2013. Image by Thierry Legault.

When the moon is most nearly between the Earth and sun for any particular month, astronomers say it is new. We don’t see a new moon in the sky, unless there’s a solar eclipse, with the moon directly in front of the sun (the image above shows a new moon, not in eclipse, but it was taken by an expert using special equipment). Most of the time, the new moon passes not in front of the sun, but simply near it in our sky. Either way, on the day of new moon, the moon travels across the sky with the sun during the day, hidden in the sun’s glare. In the language of astronomy – a day or two after each month’s new moon – a slim crescent moon always becomes visible in the west after sunset. Astronomers call this slim crescent a young moon.

This month’s new moon comes on June 13, 2018, at 19:43 UTC. Translate UTC to your time. It’s a supermoon. Read more: June new moon is a supermoon.

And the young moon? Its next appearance is an important question for the 1.6 billion Muslims living in 200 countries on Earth, because this upcoming young moon sighting will mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. Read more: When is Eid in 2018?

Here’s the new moon of August 21, 2017, covering the sun in a total solar eclipse. Beverley Sinclair, who saw the 2017 eclipse outside Charleston, South Carolina, wrote: “The skies were very cloudy leading up to totality but, miraculously, slowly cleared as totality approached. This photo shows the diamond ring and Bailey’s beads.”

New moons, and young moons, are fascinating to many. The Farmer’s Almanac, for example, still offers information on gardening by the moon. And many cultures have holidays based on moon phases; for example, the date of Easter is determined by the phase of the moon. Read more: How is the date of Easter determined?

And, of course, many look forward to the return of the moon to the evening sky. This always happens a day or two after new moon.

The chart below is set for middle North America. It shows the young moon the day after new, on June 14. The young moon will be visible from all of North America on that date, in a cloud-free sky. You will also need an unobstructed horizon – free of tall buildings and trees – to see the returning young moon on June 14. The bright object just above the moon will be Venus. Mercury will be below the moon, much harder to see:

From the Americas, the young moon will return to the west after sunset on June 14. The bright starlike object in this part of the sky is the planet Venus. Mercury is there, too, lower in the sky, harder to see. Read more.

Bottom line: As the moon orbits Earth, it changes phase in an orderly way. New moon comes on June 13 at 19:43 UTC; translate UTC to your time.

Four keys to understanding moon phases

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Deborah Byrd

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