Waning Crescent Moon
Next Waning Crescent
Starts: May 3, 2021 at 3:50 pm
Ends: May 11, 2021 at 2:59 pm
Times for Waning Crescent can vary by time zone. Dates are based on the local time in Washington DC. Change location
With some variations, the Waning Crescent Moon rises after midnight and is still up and visible in the morning and day sky before it sets in the afternoon.
A Waning Moon Shrinks
Waning means that it's shrinking and getting smaller, while crescent refers to the curved sickle shape.
The Moon's surface reflects the Sun’s rays, and half of it is always illuminated by sunlight. Just how much of that light we can see from Earth varies every day, and we refer to this as a Moon phase.
Earthshine Is Reflected Sunlight
Although only a small part of the Moon is directly illuminated by the Sun at the end of the Waning Crescent Moon phase, the rest of the Moon is sometimes also faintly visible. The reason is that Earth reflects sunlight as a faint glow onto the Moon. This phenomenon is called earthshine or the Da Vinci glow, and it is most noticeable in April and May.
Spot Venus Close By
Venus, the third brightest object in the night sky, after the Sun and the Moon, can often be found next to the Crescent Moon. When seen in the mornings, as the morning star, it is close to the Waning Moon. When it is seen in the evenings, as the evening star, it is close to the Waxing Crescent Moon.
Lunar Month: A Repeating Cycle
In western culture, we divide the lunar month into four primary and four intermediate Moon phases.
The Moon phases start with the invisible New Moon, while the first visible phase is the thin sliver of a Waxing Crescent Moon. Around a week later, half of the Moon’s visible surface is illuminated while the other half is in darkness at First Quarter Moon.
The illuminated part then gradually shrinks into a Waning Gibbous Moon, and when it reaches the Third Quarter, the opposite half from the First Quarter is illuminated. From there, it fades into the Waning Crescent Moon before it finally disappears from view again, only to reemerge and repeat this cycle over and over.
Looks Different Around the Globe
The Moon phases are the same all over the world, both in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The same percentage of the Moon will be lit up no matter where on Earth you are.
The orientation of Waning Crescent Moon depends on the time, the date, your location, and the Moon's position in the sky. Exactly which part of the Moon is lit up—the top, bottom, or the side—also depends on how high the Moon is in the sky.
The line, or curve, dividing the illuminated and dark parts of the Moon is called the terminator. The terminator of a Waning Crescent Moon can appear on the right side, the left, the top, or the bottom.
No Crescent Moon in Calendars
There is no symbol for a Waning Crescent Moon in calendars as it is an intermediate Moon phase. Only the four primary phases are shown in calendars with the following symbols:
= New Moon = First Quarter = Full Moon = Third Quarter
The Moon illustration on our Moon phase pages changes as time passes and indicates more accurately, although not perfectly, which part of the Moon is illuminated.