New Moon

Monday 4th Feb 201921:05

The Moon will pass close to the Sun and become lost in the Sun’s glare for a few days.

The Moon‘s orbital motion carries it around the Earth once every four weeks, and as a result its phases cycle from new moon, through first quarter, full moon and last quarter, back to new moon once every 29.5 days.

This motion also means that the Moon travels more than 12° across the sky from one night to the next, causing it to rise and set nearly an hour later each day. Click here for more information about the Moon’s phases.

At new moon, the Earth, Moon and Sun all lie in a roughly straight line, with the Moon in the middle, appearing in front of the Sun’s glare. In this configuration, we see almost exactly the opposite half of the Moon to that which is illuminated by the Sun, making it doubly unobservable because the side we see is unilluminated.

Over coming days, the Moon will rise and set an hour later each day, becoming visible in the late afternoon and dusk sky as a waxing crescent which sets soon after the Sun. By first quarter, in a week’s time, it will be visible until around midnight.

Its day-by-day progress is charted below, with all times are given below in London local time.

Date Sun
sets at
sets at
Altitude of Moon
at sunset
Direction of Moon
at sunset
04 Feb 2019 16:48 16:19 -8° west
05 Feb 2019 16:50 17:22 south-west
06 Feb 2019 16:51 18:25 south-west
07 Feb 2019 16:53 19:28 15° south-west
08 Feb 2019 16:55 20:32 23° south-west
09 Feb 2019 16:57 21:39 31° south-west
10 Feb 2019 16:59 22:45 38° south

At the moment of closest approach, it will pass within 1°42’of the Sun, in the constellation Capricornus. The exact positions of the Sun and Moon will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
The Moon 21h13m50s -17°49′ Capricornus 29’22”
Sun (centre) 21h11m -16°11′ Capricornus 32’26”

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

This entry in the observing calendar was provided by