Saturday, December 12, 2015

Tonight's Sky for December 12: The Youngest of Moons

How thin of a Moon have you seen? How about one that's just barely over 12 hours old and only 0.5% illuminated? Well, if you have never seen a Moon this thin, this is your chance to do so as such a Moon will be making an appearance in this evening's sky just after sunset. 

To see the Moon, you'll need a good Western horizon. How good? One with less than 3 degrees of obstruction. To simulate this, hold your little finger vertically at arm's length to simulate 1 degrees. Hint: if you can't think of a good location off-hand, scout out one during the day. Location found, head there at sunset and start looking, preferably with optical aid, and start scanning the sky. The Moon may not be visible at first, often seeming to suddenly pop into visibility as if it were flipped on like a light.

Believe me, when this happens, it's an exhilarating experience but note: seeing a 12-hour Moon is a very, very (can't emphasize the 'very' enough) tough proposition as it is near the world record for the youngest Moon sighting. Hint: if you have a go-to scope, this would be a great time to utilize it! 

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