Repost: Understanding New Moon

Originally posted May 3, 2011.

IMHO, one of the harder moon phases to explain.  Because it doesn’t actually look like that picture when it’s in our sky!  A nice explanation from EarthSky.org:

Once each month, the moon comes all the way around in its orbit so that it is more or less between us and the sun. If it weredirectly between, a solar eclipse would take place. But that doesn’t happen every month. Instead, in most months, the moon passes above or below the sun as seen from our earthly vantage point.

On the day of new moon, the moon rises when the sun rises. It sets when the sun sets. It crosses the sky with the sun during the day.

That’s why we can’t see the new moon in the sky. It is too close to the sun’s glare to be visible. Plus its lighted hemisphere is facing away from us.

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