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CINDY DAY: New moon, no moon?

The young crescent moon over Halifax  in May. Thanks to  Michael Boschat for always looking up and sharing!
The young crescent moon over Halifax in May. Thanks to Michael Boschat for always looking up and sharing! - Contributed

As the nights start to warm up, and they are bound to, people inevitably spend more time outside in the late evening. If you find yourself out on the deck, at a beach or a ball diamond, look to the heavens. There is so much to see: stars, planets, the Milky Way and, of course, a favourite, the International Space Station. All so fascinating! However, if you’re out June 13, don’t waste your time looking for the moon. 

Cindy Day
Cindy Day

People think that the moon always hangs out in the night sky, but it doesn’t. It cycles.

Wednesday, June 13, the moon will be “new.” We can’t see the moon at all during this phase, for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, the new moon rises at sunrise; it’s in the sky when the sun is, and very close to it. Speaking of moonrise, the moon appears anywhere from 40 to 75 minutes later each day, depending on the phase it’s in. By the time it reaches its full phase, the moon is rising as the sun is lowering in the western sky.

The other reason is location. The new moon phase happens when the moon and sun are in conjunction. During this time, the moon is not reflecting sunlight toward Earth. Now, that’s not a bad thing: It’s the best time to stargaze because there is no light pollution from the moon.

Now that we know more about the new moon, let me complicate matters. The original meaning of “new moon” was the first visible crescent of the moon after conjunction with the sun. The period in the lunar cycle with no moon visible used to be known as the dark moon, which I think makes much more sense.

So, Wednesday’s moon is either dark or new. Either way, you won’t see it!

Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.

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