Update on record crescent Moon sighting

By Phil Plait | May 7, 2008 10:38 am

The other day I posted about the record-breaking sighting of the youngest crescent Moon — the Moon wasn’t even new yet!

There was some confusion over the image I posted along with that article. That image was taken many hours before the actual record was made, when the Moon was still 19 degrees from the Sun.

Martin Elsässer, the man who broke the record, has posted a new image, showing what the Moon looked like just 10 minutes shy of its conjunction (closest passage) with the Sun:

That is an amazing picture. You can barely see the crescent at all; I highlighted it with red lines so you can see it. The closer the Moon gets to the Sun, the less of the lit day side we see, so this picture tells you just how close it was. At this point, it was less than 5 degrees from the Sun. Incredible.

Thanks to the folks at Fark for picking up on this story, and for the link to Herr Elsässer’s page.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures

Comments (11)

  1. Hey, I see Jesus in that picture! 😉

    but seriously…

    It’s worth visiting their page as well and checking out all the pictures (including the apparatus). Very, very cool stuff.

  2. overstroming

    Heh, “The Schweinewolke”, I know the frustration….

    I live in N Europe, clouds and telescopes aren’t friends

    Superb work by the guys to capture those images.

  3. LilLeaguer

    Actually, if it’s 10 minutes shy of conjuction, isn’t this the record for the oldest waning moon?

  4. Chip

    I wonder if what we’re seeing in that thin crescent is sunlight slipping past hills and mountain peaks that are on and maybe just slightly over the visible edge of the lunar sphere. Perhaps also residual light reflecting from the surface of other side beyond, but only onto these edge features (since the moon has no atmosphere.)

  5. Bwian

    Maybe I missed this in the earlier thread, but surely the newest moon ever seen would be one of the many pictures of a total solar eclipse?

  6. Bwian, the point is to see the lit portion, not the dark silhouette. So this stands as a record, and may for some time I imagine.

  7. I’ll bet Herr Elsässer will try again to get a newer Moon shot.
    Pig clouds! What a great term!
    Schweinewolke is the new schadenfreude!
    Rich in Charlottesville

  8. Michael Amato

    If you look at that crescent closely, you can see uneven brightness on the crescent. This is called Saber’s Beads and it’s the same thing as Bailey’s Beads which are seen during total solar eclipses.

  9. MandyDax

    Sometimes, when the Moon gets to conjunction, it seems to turn a bright pink. This is called conjunctivitis. XD

    But seriously, that is completely amazing. It’s nearly incredible that one can see any of it when it’s within that 5° considering all the scattering in our atmosphere.

  10. Steve G

    Why don’t we see the “Earth Glow” on the rest of the moon? The entire image is the same color except for the sunlight crescent (?)


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar