Waxing Crescent Moon
Current Waxing Crescent
Started: Apr 11, 2021 at 10:30 pm
Ends: Apr 20, 2021 at 2:58 am
Times for Waxing Crescent can vary by time zone. Dates are based on the local time in Washington DC. Change location
With some variations, the Waxing Crescent Moon rises in the daytime before noon and becomes visible in the day sky. It gets more visible around sunset but typically sets before midnight.
A Waxing Moon Grows
The Waxing Crescent Moon starts as the Moon becomes visible again after the New Moon conjunction, when the Sun and Earth are on opposite sides of the Moon, making it impossible to see the Moon from Earth. During this phase, the lit-up part of the Moon increases from 0.1% to 49.9%.
Waxing means that it is growing, while crescent refers to the curved sickle shape.
Traditionally, the thinnest sliver of the Waxing Crescent Moon is considered the New Moon. This traditional definition of the New Moon is still in use in some cultures, defining the month's beginning in the Islamic calendar.
Earthshine Is Reflected Sunlight
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.
Although only a small part of the Moon is directly illuminated by the Sun at the start of the Waxing 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 it is seen in the evenings, as the evening star, it is close to the Waxing Moon. When seen in the mornings, as the morning star, it is close to the Waning 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 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 a Waning Crescent Moon. Finally, the Moon disappears entirely from view into another New Moon phase, only to reemerge and repeat this cycle.
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 the Waxing 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 Waxing Crescent Moon can be on the right side, the left, the top, or the bottom.
No Crescent Moon in Calendars
There is no symbol for a Waxing 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.