Moon phase tonight

Tonight's actual moon phase and image of the moon

(Actual current moon image from the U.S. Naval Observatory)
(takes a few seconds to calculate the image of the moon phase; please be patient...)

This page shows the image of today's/tonight's actual moon phase and allows you to follow the moon phases or moon cycles as they are also called.

If you often want to see the current moon phase, or you like the night sky screensavers you can download the StarMessage screensaver.

Moon phase image
A night sky screensaver for Windows and Mac OS X is the effortless way to be reminded about today's moon phase: you will not need to do a google search or open a website or run an application.
The screensaver and the current moon phase will appear automatically when you do not use your computer.
It will also warn you about upcoming full moon dates and new moon dates.
« Wednesday, August 15th, 2018 »

A waxing crescent moon-sometimes called a "young moon"-is always seen in the west after sunset. At this moon phase, the Earth, moon and sun are located nearly on a line in space. If they were more precisely on a line, as they are at new moon, we wouldn't see the moon. The moon would travel across the sky during the day, lost in the sun's glare. Instead, a waxing crescent moon is seen one day to several days after new moon. It rises one hour to several hours behind the sun and follows the sun across the sky during the day. When the sun sets, and the sky darkens, the moon pops into view in the western sky.

Because the waxing crescent moon is nearly on a line with the Earth and sun, the "day side" is facing mostly away from us. We see only a slender fraction of the day side: a crescent moon. Each evening, because the moon is moving eastward in orbit around Earth, the moon appears farther from the sunset glare. Each evening, as the moon's orbital motion carries it away from the Earth/sun line, we see more of the moon's day side. Thus the crescent in the west after sunset appears to wax, or grow fatter each evening.

Note that a crescent moon has nothing to do with Earth's shadow on the moon. The only time Earth's shadow can fall on the moon is at full moon, during a lunar eclipse. There IS a shadow on a crescent moon, but it's the moon's OWN shadow. Night on the moon happens on the part of the moon submerged in the moon's own shadow. Likewise, night on Earth happens on the part of Earth submerged in Earth's own shadow.

You sometimes see a pale glow on the darkened portion (night side) of a crescent moon. This glow is due to light reflected from Earth's day side. It's called "earthshine."


Days Until Next Full Moon
11 days
Days Until Next New Moon
26 days
Percentage of Illumination