New moons signal the end and start of a fresh lunar cycle, which has eight phases
A new moon will be present in the night’s sky tonight (13 January) – though it might not be visible from Earth.
New moons signal the end of one lunar cycle and the beginning of another, occurring around every 29.5 days as the moon goes through eight different phases and appearances.
They also symbolise new beginnings and encourage people to reflect on past achievements, start fresh projects and use the moon’s energy to achieve their own goals.
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So what is a new moon and when is the next one? Here’s all you need to know.
The moon is only visible to us on Earth as it reflects the light of the sun – and we only ever see one half of the moon at most.
As the moon orbits the Earth, it takes on eight different appearances during its lunar cycle.
A new moon is when the natural satellite travels between Earth and the sun, and the sun’s light hits the other side of the moon not visible to us from Earth.
NASA said: “Following the night of each full moon, as the moon orbits around Earth, we start to see less of the moon lit by the sun.
“Eventually, the moon reaches a point in its orbit when we don’t see any of the moon illuminated. At that point, the far side of the moon is facing the sun.”
What is a new moon in Capricorn?
Many horoscopes say the January new moon in Capricorn is a symbol to get organised for the year ahead and to remain focussed on your goals.
Rituals range from setting a worthwhile intention and lighting a candle to beginning something new and making a list.
Though these rituals are not to be used as a reason to quit something you care about, or avoid new possibilities.
What are the eight lunar phases of the Moon?
New moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, last quarter, and waning crescent.
The moon is currently in the position of waning crescent, meaning a slim slither of the moon can be seen from Earth.
Once it completes its new moon phase, a crescent (waxing crescent) of the moon will appear for a few days before it continues on its orbit.
When is the next new moon?
The next new moon is scheduled for 13 January 2021.
The moon will be aligned in between the Earth and the sun and can’t be seen in the night sky without visual aides.
Stargazers often cite this time of the month is the best chance to see other faint objects in the night sky without the interference of moonlight.
The next new moon will take place on 12 February.
A lunar eclipse takes place when the Earth positions itself between the sun and the moon, blocking the sunlight to the moon.
There are two types of lunar eclipses – total and partial – depending on how aligned the three objects are.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon and the sun are on opposite sides of Earth, whereas a partial lunar eclipse happens when only part of the Earth’s shadow covers the moon.
NASA states: “During some stages of a lunar eclipse, the moon can appear reddish. This is because the only remaining sunlight reaching the moon at that point is from around the edges of the Earth, as seen from the moon’s surface.
“From there, an observer during an eclipse would see all Earth’s sunrises and sunsets at once.”