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May New Moon Spotting

Started by curtrenz, 04/25/2008 03:28PM
Posted 04/25/2008 03:28PM Opening Post
Who will be the first to spot the May New Moon with naked eyes after sunset? A combination of circumstances might make it possible for North Americans to spot the Moon aged a little more than half a day. Nevertheless, it will be a challenge and quite worthy of praise for anyone who is successful. Most folks will have better luck the next day when the Moon appears to pass near Mercury.

The Dark Moon will be in geocentric longitudinal conjunction with the Sun on 2008 MAY 05 at 12:18 UT. We’re in the months of the year surrounding the vernal equinox during which New Moon spotting is ideal for northern hemisphere observers. The current point in the Moon’s 18.6-year nodal cycle is also helpful. And being near perigee helps the Moon to separate from the Sun more quickly. For those at mid-northern latitudes the crescent on the 5th will appear in an unusual U-shape like the smiling Cheshire Cat.

I’ve created graphics previewing the western sky as viewed from Chicagoland 25 minutes after sunset for both MAY 05 and 06, although they should well serve most North Americans. They can be seen by clicking:

Photos or descriptions of the May New Moon would be welcome additions to this thread. Please include the date, time, time zone and location. Good Luck!

Below is a photo I took on 2007 MAY 17 of the Moon aged 30:42 hours while appearing to pass near Mercury.

For astronomical graphics, including
monthly wallpaper calendar, visit:

Curt Renz