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Astronomical question and answer 262


Frank L. Preuss


Can one still see the moon one day before new moon?


Today I again observe the sunrise.

And when I thought about, when I could expect twilight, I saw, to my surprise, the moon in the sky. It is one day before new moon. It is half an hour after moonrise and more than an hour before sunrise. I then thought about that perhaps new moon could be rather late tomorrow, and when I checked, it was so. New moon was at 21:16 the following day.

On the following day the place at the horizon of their rising will be the same, therefore that of the moon and of the sun; today it still deviated by 3 degrees. The time of the rising will be different tomorrow by 34 minutes; the moon will rise 34 minutes earlier, and the setting by 10 minutes; the moon will set 10 minutes later than the sun. And the place of their setting will then also be the same. Today it will still differ by one degree.

The two will therefore be at the same place tomorrow at 21:16 more or less because if they really would be at the same place, there would be solar eclipse. And that would then also mean that I would even be able to see the moon at new moon, as black disc before the sun.

Today I only saw the moon for a moment and only partly. That indicates wandering clouds. Whether the crescent moon, the waning, has really become thinner, to yesterday, was hardly perceptible.

I have now again been outside. The moon is noticeably higher. Twilight has started. One can see the clouds. The crescent moon was visible; the rest of the moon was covered by a cloud.

I have now been outside for a third time. The clouds are very small and the cloud distance still smaller, so that, also with wandering clouds, one can never see the moon completely. The crescent is very thin.

That tomorrow the moon is so late, will probably mean that on the day after tomorrow one will not be able to see the waxing moon, perhaps even also not the next day.

I have now again been outside; the clouds have become closer; they did not seem to move at all. I have not seen the moon.

The sun is now rising, but is hardly visible, because of the haze at the horizon. The moon is still not visible.

I have now again been outside. It is now more than 3 hours after sunrise. The sky is completely cloudless, but I did not see the moon. But it is fairly hazy and then one has to add that the moon indeed wanes further all the time; the crescent therefore becomes constantly smaller and some time disappears completely.

In the afternoon it became cloudy and in the evening there was rain.

It is now two days after new moon and as I was now in the evening sitting at the window and thought about what the day had brought, I suddenly saw the moon. My first thought was that I should have looked out for the moon, once whether it is visible at all, two days after new moon, and then also whether it can be seen at daylight.

It is now a bare hour after sunset and a good hour until moonset. The crescent moon is thin and points in that direction, where the sun is now, and again all three parts of the moon are visible. Therefore the thin brightly illuminated crescent, and then also the biggest part of the moon illuminated a little by the earth shine, and then the somewhat illuminated really fine edge of it. This edge raised the question, why is there this edge? The atmosphere of the moon could not cause it, for it does not exist allegedly. So what is it? Actually the sun is still almost completely behind the moon. Could it be the irregularities of the moon surface? The mountains on the moon seem to be higher than those on earth.

It is now three days after new moon. I have today looked out for the moon several times, but I have only seen it just now, 10 minutes before moonset, three hours after sunset. The crescent moon was still very thin and I did not have the impression that it had increased to yesterday. It was often cloudy today, but even when it was not cloudy during the day, I did not see it.

It is now four days after newmoon. I have looked several times into the sky, but the moon was not there. Now it is shortly before sunset; the sun stands fully above the horizon, which is just a little above sea-level, and I see the moon. There are thin clouds between me and the moon, and they also move, but I nevertheless see the moon, also when they pass before and over it. The crescent is still very thin and points directly towards the sun. Everything around the crescent is blue, like the rest of the sky. Moonset is to be about more than 4 hours later. The moon therefore stands quite high up in the sky, higher than half of its highest height.

It is now a few minutes after sunset, after my one and also after the theoretical one. The sky in that area, where the moon is, is now covered, but it is no clouds, but a hazy layer, but the crescent moon is clearly visible. It still gives the impression that it is illuminated, but does not illuminate itself.

It is now a quarter of an hour after sunset. The inner edge of the crescent, therefore that edge, which is less curved, is frayed. The sky is unique. Also before and above the moon are reddish clouds.

It is now 20 minutes after sunset and the moon starts to be a shining moon and that, although a hazy layer is in front of it.

It is now half an hour after sunset and I can see that part of the moon that is illuminated by the earth, although a hazy layer is in front of it.

Now, 50 minutes after sunset, the first star has emerged, not far away from the moon, in direction to the sun. The horizon is not yet completely dark.

Now, 52 minutes after sunset, I have seen a shooting star, so about half the way between the moon and the sun. I cannot remember having seen something like this ever before in my life.

Now, more than an hour after sunset, the whole sky is completely dark. It seems to be quite hazy. Still there is only the one star to be seen. It could be Procyon or Pollux, difficult to say, when there are no other stars seen.

It is now a quarter of an hour before moonset. The sky does not seem to be clear at all. No star is visible. But the crescent moon is well visible. Now reddish. The two points of the crescent are almost horizontal. Even the greater part of the moon disc is visible, but only weakly.

The moon has now just set. The somewhat higher point of the crescent was visible until last and to see this crescent setting really gives the impression of a passing off of a movement.

To be able to see the moon during the day therefore seems to be best then, when the sky is clear. A hazy sky seems to strongly diminish the view.


This is the end of "Astronomical question and answer 262"
To the German version of this chapter: Astronomische Frage und Antwort 262



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