Very Thin Crescent Moon Observed over Lahore, Pakistan

August 03, 2023


1% Crescent zoomed 20-05-2023

Photographer: Adeel Shafiq  
Summary Author: Adeel Shafiq  

Every young moon can be seen as a slim crescent in the west after sunset. Sometimes when the new moon phase occurs near midnight (according to your local clock) there’s a chance to see a very young moon, one less than 24 hours old. That was the case for me on the night of May 20, 2023, as I set out to hunt this thinnest of crescents. The result is the sly grin shown above, perhaps the thinnest crescent moon I’ve ever seen.

In spring, the ecliptic is at a steep angle to the eastern horizon in the northern hemisphere. That steep angle carries the moon high above the setting sun. At such times the moon is very close to the sun along our line of sight though its illuminated portion is turned almost entirely away from us. Note that a very young moon lying close to the horizon is extremely difficult to see because it’s buried in the twilight glare.

Background story: I'd been chasing thin crescents for more than a year, each time trying to better my own record of capturing the least illuminated moon. This is an exercise that tests not only your knowledge of the moon's position in regard to the horizon, the ecliptic and evening twilight, but most importantly, it tests your patience.

Moon phase details: 22 hours (age); Illumination of 1.0%; elongation of 11.7 degrees east; elevation of 4 degrees; in the constellation of Taurus.

Photo details: Canon EOS 1300D; Samyang 135mm f/2 lens; Single image cropped about 50%; shot at f/4.0; ISO 100; 1/20 second exposure; Processing done in Photoshop 2020

Lahore, Pakistan Coordinates: 31.5204, 74.3587

Related Links:

Ultra-thin Crescent Moon

Adeel’s Website