Thin Crescent Moon Pictures
Copyright 2004-2014, Dick Locke.  All Rights Reserved.  Contact and Image Use Information 

I have a scenic thin moon page here, featuring more ascetically pleasing moon images.  This page features the thinnest of the thin, those that are less than 24 hours from new.

Thin Crescent Moon: 4/29/14, Age 19hr 38m

Success!  I caught this visually from the Davis Mountains at 8:52 in 15x70 binocs hand-held. If my math was right the moon was 19 hrs 38 minutes old at 8:52 p.m. central.  It's 0.79% illuminated per TheSky X.  This is the youngest moon yet, eclipsing my old record (see next picture below) by more than 90 minutes hours.  Nikon D610 camera, Nikon VR 300mm f2.8G lens at f3.2, 1/640s, ISO 1250, auto-exposed with the camera's spot metering option.  More astronomy pictures from this trip are here.

Getting the shot:  A lot of planning went into this one. I checked the exact location of the the sunset the night before the thin moon to get an exact bearing.   I had used the setting sun as a guidepost and knew exactly where to look which helped immeasurably.  I set up on a high deck at my hosts' place to get above a mountain range this is about 3.5 degrees above the true horizon. 

Thin Crescent Moon, 21 hrs. 16 min. old

The image above *was* the "youngest" moon I was able to capture prior to the top image on this page from 2014.  The image immediately above is from May 19th, 2004 in the Davis Mountains.  See details below.

Thin Crescent Rising  (23 hours from new)

This was my first shot after sighting the moon at 5:55 a.m. 7/31/2008.  Photo Details: 1.3 second exposure, Nikon D200, Nikon 80-200 f2.8 ED AF lens at 2.8, ISO 800 setting, significantly cropped from original.  Moon was 1.34% illuminated, 2 deg 17 min up according to The Sky.  I have the new moon at 5:13 local time the next day, so that would be 23 hours 12 minutes from new.  My last shot before heading into work was 15 minutes later,  22h 57m from new.  See picture below.

Here's the report I sent to the local astronomy clubs:  I was able to catch this morning's thin crescent moon from the south shore of Lake Woodlands.  Aside from the annoying lights nearby, that turned out to be an excellent location due to its very low ENE horizon.  First view was at 5:55 a.m., which I think means it was about (23 hours 12 minutes, corrected) from new.  I took a series of images over the next 15 minutes.  This was pretty easy in my 8x42 binoculars once I located it, and I could see it in the camera viewfinder (using 80-200mm f2.8 lens at 200mm) after 6:00 a.m., but I don't believe I saw it naked eye.

Wide View of a Thin Crescent Moon

Above: 1/8 second with same equipment noted above at 80mm, moon 22h 57m from new.  It was the last shot I took before heading to work.  Picture was manipulated in Photoshop to increase contrast; the moon was much more difficult to see than the picture implies.

Moon Pictures

Trick: Focus is critical on these pictures, and it's often dark when you're shooting.  On the 23 hour moon shot above I focused on the distant Anadarko Building.

Moon Sliver and Jet,

2/21/04, 6:17 p.m.  Moon above is almost exactly 39 hours old by my calculations.  Processed with Neat Image to remove noise & sharpen.  1/160 second, Nikon D100 at ISO 400 setting, Nikon 300mm f2.8 lens at f2.8.

West Texas Astrophotography by Dick Locke

Moon & Planetary Landscapes

My main index to thin moon images is here!


Thin Crescent Moon, 21 hrs. 16 min. old Details, May 19th, 2004:

I was able to view a thin crescent moon in the Davis Mtns.  I drove around at sunset trying to find a place with the lowest western horizon.  I set up my camera/lens/tripod on a road, and scanned for the moon in 10x50 binocs.  Acquired it at ~9:08 p.m. CTD, age 21 hrs 15 minutes -- and started taking pictures. Right as it was setting into the trees a car came along and I had to move.  I only had it for a few minutes, and I don't believe I saw it naked eye.  Hard to remember in all the excitement...  The Sky says its phase was 0.75%.  When I got back to the cabin (*after a long walk and a ride back to my Van, whose battery I had drained)  I loaded the pix onto my laptop. I about had a heart attack when I couldn't see the moon at all in the thumbnails and the first full-sized images I looked at. On closer examination, thankfully, the moon is indeed visible on a number of the images - just barely!  Photo notes: Nikon D100, Nikon 300mm f2.8 lens, 1/60s, time 21:09:30 CDT.  *See below for the dead battery story...  Sky and Telescope has an even younger picture here.

Moon Setting into Trees
May 20, 2004 (Next Night).  Had to dodge Lightning that night!

Photo notes on above: 6 seconds, Nikon D100, Nikon 300mm f2.8 lens @ f2.8, ISO 800 setting


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*Dead Battery Story on the 21 hr old moon:

So anyway, I set up about 45 minutes before I got the shot because I was 
chasing the sunset to a) get my bearings, and b) figure out how much time 
I had before the moon set locally.  I decided to put on some music to 
pass the time on this isolated mountain road...  I decide maybe the music 
was a bit too loud so I rolled up the passenger window to help control 
the volume in case anyone was in earshot...  and forgot to turn the key 
of the "on" position!

My clue was, just as I was wrapping up, the music stopped momentarily 
when my hazard lights flashed.  Dead battery, and I'm stuck a mile or two 
from my cabin.  And, I'm overdue to get drift aligned for a night of 
astrophotography!  But wait, I have a spare battery in the back (for 
powering all my astronomy stuff; wasn't using it since I had power where 
I decided to set up this trip).  No jumper cables, though.  Fine, I'll 
replace the battery and be on my way in a few minutes... I found a small 
multi-purpose tool in the glove box, and proceeded to disconnect the 
battery and pull it out.  No small task with this little tool, I should 
add.  Then I go to put in the new battery, and you guessed it, it's way 
to big to fit in the slot.  I put back the old battery, and decide to try 
starting to see if the battery had recovered...  Turned over 3 or 4 times 
but didn't catch.  I ended up hoofing it back to the cabin using a tiny 
flashlight on this difficult mountain road to find my way.  I imposed on 
my hosts for a lift back to the van, and ended up getting quite a late 
start on the evening's shooting.

So, when you're set up out in the sticks watch your power sources!  (And 
no good deed, e.g. rolling up the window), goes unpunished.)