06.09.2021 – RECORD! – Crescent moon (1,1%)

Observation report

The morning of September 6th, 2021 was noted thickly in my calendar, because here I had the chance to observe a crescent moon that was only 1.1% illuminated. The crescent moon rose around 5:42 am, while the sun would still be 11 ° below the horizon at this point in time. The sunrise would take place around 6:53 a.m., a good hour later. The crescent moon would also gain height relatively quickly, i.e. quickly move vertically to the horizon, which made the conditions even more optimal.  Fortunately, it was a Monday on September 6th, 2021, which is currently one of my days in the home office and I was able to quickly walk 5 minutes to my observation place. The weather forecast also predicted slightly cloudy to clear skies. Due to the high humidity already the days before, on these autumn days there are of course always doubts as to whether high fog might be blocking the view.  

As it always should be, I started the day optimistically. The alarm clock rang around 5:40 a.m. and a first look outside showed a starry sky. With the coal factories in a north / north-westerly direction, there is another factor of uncertainty. I had already checked on the computer the evening before that the moon could not appear over the trees before 6:00 a.m., so that I did not have to be in the field before that time. At around 5:50 a.m. I left the house and at 5:55 a.m. I simply looked out and prepared the camera. The Canon 500D was there, but also the Canon PowerShot SX50, so that I could perhaps zoom in a little closer at the end of the observation (you can see the photo here on the right). While the sky was generally clear, except for the clouds in the factories, you could see haze / thin clouds on the horizon in a north-easterly direction. Of course, this was not very helpful with such a narrow crescent moon. From 6:05 a.m. I then searched the horizon with the binoculars in the appropriate direction, but couldn’t find anything.

So I then decided to take a few photos with the camera, and then around 6:10 a.m. I was successful! At a height of 4 ° above the horizon, the moon emerged from the thin cloud cover and it was clearly recognizable in the photo. With the binoculars, I was only able to see him a little later. So the new record was now official! The crescent moon from September 6th, 2021 was with an illumination of only 1.1% the absolutely narrowest crescent moon that I could see in my life so far! If that wasn’t a nice start to the day. It was also interesting and clearly recognizable that the very narrow sickle was no longer continuous, so you could see gaps in the illuminated narrow area. With my narrowest crescent moon so far (23.03.2021, 1.4%), this was only partially recognizable. I really enjoyed the sight of the very narrow crescent moon above the trees and only took photos from time to time, because with the binoculars it was now a little easier to see. With the Canon PowerShot SX50, I also took individual pictures that showed the crescent moon a little closer. At around 6:30 am I stopped my observation due to the increasing dusk. It was a wonderful observation and, as already mentioned, a really great start to the day!

But I also saw that with a really clear horizon, a slightly narrower crescent moon would certainly still be visible. A crystal clear sky is needed on November 4th, 2021, because a 0.7% crescent moon is possible here in the morning. However, I consider this to be very borderline and it will need the most optimal conditions. When the moon rises, the sun would be 7 ° below the horizon. If the weather conditions are really ideal and nothing to prevent them from working, it is definitely worth a try. With an illumination of only 0.7% it is of course slowly becoming difficult to see anything at all and you may really need a telescope.


Below you will of course also find a few photos that I was able to take while observing the narrow crescent moon, which is only 1.1% illuminated: