Not to be confused with a full Moon, a “new” Moon is usually impossible to see because it is drowned out by the Sun’s bright light during the day. (However there are some exceptions.) Learn all about this unique lunar phase and why it’s an ideal time for stargazing! Plan your next star adventure using our calendars below.
What Is A New Moon?
A new Moon occurs when the Moon comes between the Earth and Sun (about once a month). If these celestial bodies are perfectly aligned, a solar eclipse takes place.
Related: Learn about eclipses
A Lunar Month Or “Moonth”
Ancient civilizations around the world often used the phases of the Moon as a calendar. They would mark the passing of time by lunar months or “moonths.” Similar to the length of a month (approximately four weeks), a lunar month is the period of time it takes for the lunar cycle to repeat–roughly 29.5 days.
The most common start to a lunar month is the “new” phase. However this name once had a different meaning. In the ancient sense, it referred the first moment that the Moon could be observed (after being completely invisible in the sky) as it emerged in a waning crescent stage, appearing to be reborn in light. Stargazers would witness the slimmest crescent hanging in the twilight of the western sky and call it “new,” but this sight actually occurs approximately 12-24 hours after the point that astronomers would consider to be “new” today.
Once a crescent was sighted, the new month would begin. The timing of annual religious holidays including Lunar New Year, Ramadan, Easter, and Rosh Hashanah are linked to accurately identifying phases of the Moon. After centuries of such observations, ancient cultures could then calculate the timing of the actual new Moon without seeing it. If their predictions were accurate enough, they could even forecast the most dramatic of astronomical events: a total solar eclipse! (Solar eclipses only happen during a new Moon. The next one occurs on April 8, 2024. Learn more!)
Related: Learn more about lunar phases
The Best Time For Stargazing!
If you want to see the most stars at night, stargaze around the new Moon. Although seeing a big, bold, beautiful Moon light up the night sky may be breathtaking, all of that lunar light also washes out the light of the stars. The darkest skies of each month — the times you can see the fainter stars and constellations — is a few nights before and after the new Moon.
New Moon Calendar 2023
|New Moon Date||Native American Name||Time|
|January 21||New Snow Moon||3:53 PM|
|February 5||New Worm Moon||2:06 AM|
|March 21||New Pink Moon||1:23 PM|
|April 19||New Flower Moon||12:12 AM|
|May 19||New Strawberry Moon||11:53 AM|
|June 18||New Buck Moon||12:37 AM|
|July 17||New Sturgeon Moon||2:32 PM|
|August 16||New Blue Moon||5:38 AM|
|September 14||New Harvest Moon||9:40 PM|
|October 14||New Hunter’s Moon||1:55 PM|
|Nov 13||New Beaver Moon||4:27 AM|
|December 12||New Cold Moon||6:32 PM|
New Moon Calendar 2024
|New Moon Date||Native American Name||Time|
|January 11||New Wolf Moon||6:57 AM|
|February 9||New Snow Moon||5:59 PM|
|March 10||New Worm Moon||5:00 AM|
|April 8||New Pink Moon||2:21 PM|
|May 7||New Flower Moon||11:22 PM|
|June 6||New Strawberry Moon||8:38 AM|
|July 5||New Buck Moon||6:57 PM|
|August 4||New Sturgeon Moon||7:13 AM|
|September 2||New Harvest Moon||9:56 PM|
|October 2||New Hunter’s Moon||2:49 PM|
|November 1||New Beaver Moon||8:47 AM|
|December 1||New Cold Moon||1:21 AM|
|December 30||New Wolf Moon||5:27 PM|
It is a Farmers’ Almanac tradition to call out the historical names for each Moon over the course of the year. For instance, June’s Strawberry Moon. Typically these names are associated with the Moon’s full phase — when the Moon is brightest and most apparent in the sky—but these names are actually ascribed approximately two weeks prior, upon each new Moon. We included these names in the calendars above so you may anticipate them as they grow into beautiful brightness!
When Is A New Moon Visible?
A new Moon may become visible – very, very rarely — in the event of a solar eclipse. During these times, the Moon comes directly between Earth and the Sun. When the Moon blocks a portion of the Sun (looking like a monster took a bite of the solar disc) this is called a partial solar eclipse.
When the Moon slides in front of and obscures the entire Sun, that is a total solar eclipse. These events only occur on new Moons.
There are two chances for you to see a New Moon in the next year. October 14, 2023, much of the United States will see a partial solar eclipse. And on April 8, 2024 a swath of the globe from Mexico to Newfoundland will behold a total solar eclipse.
Mark your Moon calendars for those two dates and order your safe eclipse glasses now.
Join The Discussion
Do you plan your stargazing adventures around this lunar phase?
Share with your community in the comments below!
Dean Regas is an expert astronomer and a renowned author who has written six books, including 100 Things to See in the Night Sky and How to Teach Grown-Ups About Pluto. An astronomer with more than two decades of experience, Dean is a dynamic writer and public speaker who brings the complicated field of astronomy down to Earth for students of all ages. From 2010-2019, he was the co-host of the PBS program Star Gazers. He is a frequent guest on National Public Radio’s Science Friday with Ira Flatow and NPR's Here & Now. He also hosts a popular astronomy podcast called Looking Up with Dean Regas. Learn more about him at www.astrodean.com