The moon is near Regulus, September 22 – 24

Moon is near Regulus, showing one dot for the star and three moons stacked from top to bottom for different dates.
On September 22 and 23, 2022, your friends might ask you: “What’s that bright star by the moon?” The waning crescent moon is near Regulus, the brightest star in Leo the Lion. On September 24, the delicately thin crescent moon will hug the horizon while bright Regulus stands above. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

Moon is near Regulus before sunrise

The moon draws your eye whenever it’s in the sky. And a waning crescent moon on the mornings of September 22, 23 and 24, 2022, will help you point to Regulus, the brightest star in Leo the Lion. The dwindling moon, with its lit face shrinking more each day, appears in the eastern sky before dawn. The moon will reach new phase, when it’s so close to the sun that you can’t see it at all, on September 25.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the thin crescent moon will slip alongside of Regulus to the left, or north, of the star. On the 22nd, the moon is just above and to the left, and on the 23rd it’s to the lower left. And on the 24th, the moon is far to the lower left, near the horizon and rising sun. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, the line that the moon makes past Regulus will run from upper left to lower right. Check Stellarium to see the view from your location.

Earthshine on the moon

Even though the lit portion of the moon is shrinking, you should be able to see the unlit portion of the moon that faces us thanks to earthshine. Earthshine is exactly what it sounds like. Light from Earth is shining on the moon, allowing us to see a dim view of the entire hemisphere facing us. As the sky brightens, the earthshine portion of the moon will fade from sight. Notice how much easier it is to see earthshine on the morning of September 22 compared to September 24. Can you see earthshine on the 24th at all?

Bottom line: What’s that bright star by the moon on the mornings of September 22, 23 and 24, 2022? The waning crescent moon is near Regulus, the brightest star in Leo the Lion.

For more great observing events in the coming weeks, visit EarthSky’s night sky guide

September 21, 2022

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Kelly Kizer Whitt

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