Moon phases and new moon visibility

You can quickly jump to the next or previous moon phase even in the TPE web app using the previous/next event buttons:


When clicked, the web app will change the selected date and time to the next upcoming moon phase event. These events include:

  • New Moon
  • First quarter
  • Full moon
  • Third quarter

In this example, I've clicked two events forward to the next full moon:


Note: typically you don't actually want to be photographing the moon at the instant of full moon. You won't even see it at the instant of new moon (it's not illuminated, by definition!).

Full moons are usually best photographed to the east at moonrise the night before full moon, or to the west the morning after, but check in TPE as the times relative to sunrise/sunset and the directions vary.

New moons are typically best shot to the west just after sunset, 1-3 days after new moon. The TPE crescent moon visibility indicator will tell when it is and is not visible:


The visibility is indicated by an icon and a rating A-F, according to the Yallop method:

Rating Icon Description
A glyphicons-231-moon.png Easily visible to the unaided eye
B glyphicons-231-moon.png Visible under perfect atmospheric conditions
C glyphicons-26-binoculars.png May need optical aid to find the thin crescent moon before it can be seen with the unaided eye 
D glyphicons-26-binoculars.png Can only be seen with binoculars or a telescope
E glyphicons-53-eye-close.png Below the normal limit for detection with a telescope
F glyphicons-53-eye-close.png Not visible. Below the Danjon limit

Note that some say the Danjon limit is dead, but for most photographers without specialist equipment, the above rating remains a useful guide. See also "What’s the youngest moon you can see?".

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