Young Moon Challenge, March 16, 2010. Spotting a young Moon at around 24 hours old is an interesting challenge. On this night the photograph was taken when the Moon was about 27 hours past new, so it was fairly easy to spot about a half hour after sunset.
The challenge is that the illuminated part of the Moon is very thin, and very faint, and since it is close to the Sun at this phase the sky is bright and washes out the subtle light from the Moon. It is easier to see when the sky gets darker, but by then the Moon has moved closer to the horizon and its faint light has to travel through so much atmosphere that once again it becomes difficult to find. There are just an opportune few minutes when the sky is dark enough, and the Moon is still high enough that it can be found.
The photograph was taken at 8:10 p.m. EDT. Just slightly over one percent of its illuminated side was visible from Earth. The bright object in the upper left corner is the planet Venus.
This photograph was published in the August 2010 issue of Astronomy Magazine.
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