The photo above was taken in November 2017 by Patrick Casaert in Meaux, France. Notice that this very young moon appears sideways with respect to the bottom of the photo. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere – and you see the moon on November 8, 9 or 10, 2018 – it’ll likely be oriented sideways to your sunset horizon. That’s because – in autumn – the young crescent moon is located to the side of the sun in our evening sky, not above the sun as it is right now for the Southern Hemisphere (where it’s spring).
On November 8, 2018, you might (or might not) spot the young moon in your western sky after sunset. Generally, it’s difficult to catch a pale, whisker-thin waxing crescent moon that’s less than 24 hours old (24 hours past new moon). New moon was November 7 at 16:02 UTC.
So Asia will have a tough time spotting the moon on November 8, but your chance to see it will improve as sunset comes to increasingly western longitudes. As the sun sets for western Europe and Africa on November 8, the moon will be approximately one day old. In that part of the world, the moon will most likely set somewhat less than one hour after sunset.
In the Americas on November 8, the moon will be more than a day old and therefore easier to spot. Still, the autumn angle of the ecliptic will keep the moon low in the twilight sky. You’ll have to search to see it!
If you miss the young moon at dusk November 8, try again on November 9 or 10. Day after day, a wider crescent moon will stay out later after sunset and will be easier to catch at early evening, as shown on the chart below:
As for the Americas, the moon will be well over 24 hours old at sunset, and, for the most of the Americas, the slender crescent will stay out for over one hour after sundown. All the same, you’ll want to find an unobstructed horizon in the direction of sunset for your young moon quest. Binoculars may come in handy as well.
Want to know the age of the moon at sunset for your part of the world? Click here and remember to check the Moon phases plus Moonrise and moonset boxes. (For example, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the moon is 29 hours 49 minutes old at sunset November 8, because the new moon occurred at 11:03 a.m. local time on November 7 and the sun sets at 4:52 p.m. local time on November 8.)
Do you know your cardinal directions and are you familiar with the concept of azimuth? If so, you can obtain the azimuth reading of moonset (or sunset) by way of the U.S. Naval Observatory (remember to check the moon or sun as your celestial object of interest), or via TimeandDate.
Or, more simply, you can search for the young waxing crescent moon, with the unaided eye or binoculars, near the sunset point on the horizon. For a double bonus, seek out the planet Mercury, too, although this world will be considerably easier to spot from the Southern Hemisphere.
Bottom line: These next several days – November 8, 9 and 10, 2018 – look for the young waxing crescent moon in the western sky after sunset. With each passing day, the lunar crescent will widen, to appear higher up in the sky at sunset and to stay out later after dark. Good luck!
Bruce McClure has served as lead writer for EarthSky's popular Tonight pages since 2004. He's a sundial aficionado, whose love for the heavens has taken him to Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and sailing in the North Atlantic, where he earned his celestial navigation certificate through the School of Ocean Sailing and Navigation. He also writes and hosts public astronomy programs and planetarium programs in and around his home in upstate New York.