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Welcome to HMNAO's Moon Watch web site.
Have you ever wondered at what stage you can see the new crescent moon?

The next new moon will occur on Wednesday June 13th 2018 at 19:43 GMT/UT or 20:43 BST marking the start of lunation 1181 and the tenth month of the Islamic calendar. It also marks the start of the month of Shawwal, the Islamic festival of Eid-al-Fitr and the end of Ramadan.

The timing of June's new moon means sightings of the new crescent moon on Wednesday June 13th are extremely unlikely for observers with the naked eye through to conventional, amateur-sized telescopes. The first visibility of the new crescent moon on Thursday June 14th using amateur-sized telescopes may be possible in south-western Asia, India and northern parts of the the Middle East. Naked-eye sightings of the new crescent moon under excellent conditions may be possible from the western Indian Ocean region, South Africa, northern Africa, the south-western part of Saudi Arabia and southern Spain later the same day. Easy sightings of the new crescent moon should be possible from central and western Africa, the United States, Central America, the Caribbean region and South America on June 14th. The new crescent moon should be easily visible globally on Friday June 15th, including the United Kingdom, and with the possible exception of north-eastern Russia which may have to wait until Saturday June 16th to make its sighting of the crescent moon. We would therefore ask observers to make their sightings of the new crescent Moon between June 13th and June 15th and report them to us.

If you go out just after sunset over the three or four days following the instant of new moon and have a look low in the western half of the sky near where the Sun set, you can try and observe the new crescent moon.

You can make the observation with just your eyes or with binoculars or a telescope. Never look at the Sun directly or through binoculars or a telescope as you will damage your eyesight. If you are going to use binoculars or a telescope to find the new crescent moon, you must make sure the Sun has set.

The crescent moon will be faint shortly after new moon but will brighten from night to night as the crescent thickens. Cloud or aircraft vapour trails can easily be mistaken for the Moon so be careful when making the observation.

Scan the western horizon close to where the Sun set. If you can see the Moon, let us know by entering your observation and location in our report form. We need to know the date and time of your observation, what the crescent looked like, where it was in the sky relative to the position on the horizon where the Sun set and something about the weather conditions and you, the observer. Even if the weather is clear and you cannot see the Moon, let us know. A negative observation will also help us!

Come back to this site later in the month and you can find out what you should have seen from your observing site. You can also sign up for an e-mail reminder of the date and time of the next new moon so you can try your observing skills again.

Over time, we will process your observations and try to improve the models we use to predict the first sighting of the new crescent moon. Currently, these predictions produce a classification for a particular date and location ranging from A (crescent easily visible) through to F (crescent impossible to see).

For those groups who use the first sighting of the new crescent moon in their calendars, these predictions are very significant and mark the beginning and end of periods of fasting and festivals. More information on these predictions is available on this site.

This site allows observers to look at the global visibility of the next new moon, to check their observations of the last new moon, to report their observations and to receive/stop e-mail reminders of the next new moon.

Preliminary results will also be reported on the site when they become available.

Further information on the visibility of the new crescent moon for a specific location can be found on our Websurf site by selecting the Crescent Moon Visibility option from the menu.
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An ancient Maya calendar
A satellite dish scanning the sky
What we want you to do
  • Go out each evening following the day of the new moon.
  • Find a westerly facing spot with a clear view of the horizon.
  • Wait for the Sun to set, then look for the crescent moon in that part of the sky.
  • Don't look directly at the Sun, using your naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.
  • Can you see the crescent moon? Are you sure? Is it a cloud or a vapour trail?
  • Make a note of where you were, the date and time of your observation, the weather conditions and whether you saw the Moon or not.
  • Come to this website and report your observation.
  • Try and observe the crescent moon each night until you see it, reporting each observation attempt.
  • Sign up for an e-mail reminder of the next new moon and come back next month and try the same thing again.
 
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Permission must be granted to reproduce this material. HM Nautical Almanac Office and the UK Hydrographic Office do not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage arising from the use of information contained in the following pages.

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