New Moon on June 13 | Supermoon

What is a New Moon? Facts and Folklore

January 29, 2019
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Today, June 13, is a New Moon. It’s also a “supermoon” which may interest those of you who live by the tides. For astronomers, New Moon means no Moon. For many cultures, however, the New Moon carries special meaning. Discover more about today’s New Moon.

What is the New Moon?

The New Moon begins every lunar cycle (29.5 days). It happens when the Moon is in line with the Sun, with the Sun and Earth on opposite sides of the Moon.  

As the New Moon crosses the sky during the day, rising and setting around the same time as the Sun, it’s lost in the solar glare.

The New Moon is also lit up from behind, showing us its dark side.  It’s doubly invisible.

June New Moon is a Supermoon

Interestingly, the new Moon on June 13, 2018 is considered a “supermoon.” This term refers to a new or full Moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90 percent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. 

Of course, you can’t see the new Moon so it may not be a very interesting fact to a sky watcher. However, supermoons still affect the tides of those who live in coastal areas.

A day or two after each month’s new Moon, a very slim crescent moon always becomes visible in the west after sunset. It may appear brighter than usual.

And seven days after the new Moon, the waxing Moon reaches it’s First Quarter stage when it’s 50% illuminated. See why we call it the Quarter not the Half Moon

New Moon Meaning

Here at The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the New Moon is associated with Gardening by the Moon. According to this age-old practice, vegetables that bear crops above ground during the light, or waxing, of the Moon: from the day the Moon is new to the day it is full.

We also look to the Moon’s phases to determine many holidays based on the lunar calendar. For example, learn how the date of Easter is determined by the Moon’s phase.

And, of course, many sky watchers look forward to the return of the Moon to the evening sky with the first sighting of the waxing crescent one or two days later. This very thin crescent is always low in evening twilight.

After the Moon’s absence for a few days, it’s kind of a lunar rebirth.

Thus, many cultures revolved ceremonies around that first appearance of the new Moon. 

For Muslims, its sighting officially marks the beginning of each month. The next upcoming young Moon sighting will mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.


Dark Side of the Moon

We’re often asked about the “dark” side of the Moon. There is no continually dark “side” of the Moon. Every part of the Moon has both day and night in half–month intervals. See more about the dark or far side of the Moon.

A smile or an archer’s bow?

Sometimes we’re asked about when the Moon “smiles.” Only in late winter (January and February) does the waxing crescent Moon look like a smile.  The rest of the year it’s more or less lit up on its right side, especially in the autumn.  (The crescent Moon is never oriented like a frown).


Aren’t crescent Moon’s beautiful? Who can resist?

Read more about crescent Moons in my article, “By the Light of the Slivery Moon.”

About This Blog

Welcome to “This Week’s Amazing Sky,” the Almanac’s hub for everything stargazing and astronomy. Bob Berman, longtime and famous astronomer for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, will help bring alive the wonders of our universe. From the beautiful stars and planets to magical auroras and eclipses, he covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob, the world’s mostly widely read astronomer, also has a new weekly podcast, Astounding Universe


Reader Comments

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These pictures make great

These pictures make great desktop backgrounds, thanks!

The Magic of the New Moon

Your comment regarding Muslims - In case you are not informed - the sighting indicated the beginning of the new month began with Judaism thousands of years before the muslims ever thought about creating a religion!

Who's really looking?

Bob Berman's picture

Ah, yes, but we’re talking about NOW, and actually looking for the thin crescent moon. Rabbis use tables to determine each lunar month, but only the Muslims station Muftis atop minarets that must actually see it, for the new month to be declared. It’s one of the final vestiges of a bygone era when sightings of the Moon altered and affected our daily lives.

New Moon-Earthshine

You didn't mention the Earth Shine- the best part of the New Moon!
Earth Shine is caused by the sunlight reflected back from Earth onto the Moon
and faintly illuminating the lunar surface while in the early New Phase.
This phenomena was one of the proofs by Galileo that the earth actually revolved around the sun on the same way that the moon revolved around the earth. From the lunar perspective the Earth would appear "full "from the perspective of someone on the moon in the way that the moon appears" full" to us here on earth. We can only see our own earth light during this lunar phase.

Coming up soon

Bob Berman's picture

Good thinking – and we already have that scheduled for the March new moon. For February we wanted to focus on the unique orientation of the crescent, and the fact that these late winter crescents are the easiest to see of the entire year.

New Moon

How about "Lion-tide"...


Bob Berman's picture

Lion-tide is very nice, I like it. The kind of thing that can really catch on. (I assume it goes with “March comes in like a lion….) since the other possible link, to the constellation Leo, wouldn’t work, since the waxing crescent is nowhere near that pattern in Feb and March.


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