All About Space

Check with the Moon

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1 Are you stargazing at the right time of the month? During full Moon our satellite rises at dusk and sets at dawn, effectivel­y acting as a giant light polluter all night long. That makes the night of the full Moon the worst night of the month for stargazing and astronomy. The four or so days either side of full Moon also see a bright Moon dominating the night sky, blotting out stars and constellat­ions. So when should you go stargazing? The darkest night of all is that of new Moon, exactly two weeks after and before full Moon. During that time the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun, so from Earth we can see none of the illuminate­d side of the Moon. However, for around four or so days before new Moon, a waning Moon rises after midnight, and just after new Moon, it’s a slim waxing crescent that sets soon after dusk. So if you really want to plan the perfect night of stargazing, aim for new Moon week.

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