This month Starwatch will trace the progress of the moon through its full cycle, starting this week with the new moon and waxing crescent
For the next four weeks, Starwatch will trace the moon’s phases across a full lunar month and point out the objects of interest that our nearest celestial neighbour passes along the way. New moon occurs this week on 6 March at 16:04 GMT. It is the moment when the moon lies between the sun and earth. We seldom see this because it takes place in the glare of the sun. Only when the line-up is precise does it become visible because it causes a total solar eclipse. This month, our first good chance to see the young moon comes on the evening of 8 March. It is very difficult to see a young moon within its first 24 hours but by sunset on Friday, it will be just over two days old. Even so, the moon will be extremely low in the sky and just 4% of its visible surface will be illuminated. The chart shows the view looking west at 18:30 GMT on that evening. Look out each subsequent evening to watch the crescent grow larger and the moon climb higher into the sky. On 11 March, it will pass Mars and be 23% illuminated.