Instructions: To observe a thin waxing crescent moon, go out at the end of the school day. You'll find it in the south to southwest. It works best to cover the sun with your right hand, and look for the moon to the left of the sun as seen in the picture below. Depending on what month you are making this observation in, you may find the moon slightly higher than the sun in the sky, or slightly lower. This observation is difficult because you are looking for a thin crescent moon, AND it's fairly close to the sun in the sky.

Crescent Moon with Earthshine Special Note: This would be a great time to ask the students to look for the moon at night. It will be very easy to find in the south to southwest soon after sunset. (It will be obvious enough that they won't need to know their compass directions.) Ask them to look for the dark part of the moon as the sunset is fading. It is often visible due to sunlight which is reflecting off of the Earth and onto the moon. It's sometimes referred to as "earthshine".

Many students have the misconception that the moon is actually changing shape. But if they can see the dark part of the moon when it's in a crescent phase, then they can see that the moon is still round.


Daytime Moon: Difficult Waxing Crescent example image