Waning Crescent Moon Phase


What is a waning crescent moon? The waning crescent moon, sometimes called an old moon, is defined to occur when the Moon is nearly, but not precisely, on a line with the Earth and Sun. This means that part but less than one-half of the Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight, creating a crescent moon. Because the fraction of the Moon’s disk that is illuminated is decreasing, we consider the Moon to be “waning.” Each new lunar cycle is measured beginning at each new moon and the waning crescent moon occurs when the Moon is more than three-quarters of the way around the sky (i.e., along its orbit) from new moon.

Waning Crescent Moon Dates / Next Waning Crescent Moon

When is the next waning crescent moon? A waning crescent moon is seen one day to several days before a new moon. The average calendrical month, which is 1/12 of a year, is about 30.44 days, while the Moon’s phase (synodic) cycle repeats on average every 29.53 days. Therefore the timing of the Moon’s phases shifts by an average of almost one day for each successive month. To find out the waning crescent moon dates, please see the waning crescent moon calendar below.

Waning Crescent Moon and The Moon Phases

Waning Crescent Moon

Waning Crescent Moon

The waning crescent moon, happens when the moon is between a 135 and 180 degree angle with respect to the Earth and Sun. So we are seeing less than half of the moon illuminated and more than half in shadow. The word “crescent” refers to the phases where the moon is less that half illuminated. “Waning” essentially means shrinking or decreasing in illumination. Each evening, as the moon’s orbital motion carries it away from the Earth-sun line, we see less of the moon’s day side.

Each lunar cycle begins with a new moon. As the Moon moves eastward away from the Sun in the sky, we see a bit more of the sunlit side of the Moon each night. We call this waxing. After the new moon, the sunlit portion is increasing, but less than half illuminated, so it is a waxing crescent moon. When half of the Moon’s disc is illuminated, we call it the first quarter moon. As the sunlit portion continues to increase, now more than half illuminated, it becomes waxing gibbous moon. When the Moon reaches maximum illumination, a full moon, the Moon has completed one half of the lunar month.

During the second half of the lunar month, the Moon grows thinner each night. We call this waning. The waning gibbous moon phase occurs first, followed by the last quarter moon when half of the Moon’s disc is illuminated. Next is the waning crescent moon, which wanes until the illumination is completely gone; a new moon.

Waning Crescent Moon Calendar 2016

The waning crescent moon calendar for 2016 is expressed in Coordinated Universal Time (UT), the international basis for other time zones, and occurs on the days between each last quarter moon and new moon. On these days, the waning crescent is up in the sky, nearly all day long, moving ahead of the sun across the sky’s dome. It sets in the west several hours or less before sunset. Astronomers call one lunar cycle a lunation. For waning crescent moon times in your city, please use the Time Zone Converter. You may also simply subtract five (5) hours to get to U.S. Eastern Time.

Full MoonYearDateTimeDay
Wolf Moon2016Jan 2401:46Sun
Snow Moon2016Feb 2218:20Mon
Worm Moon2016Mar 2312:01Wed
Pink Moon2016Apr 225:24Fri
Flower Moon2016May 2121:15Sat
Strawberry Moon2016Jun 2011:02Mon
Buck Moon2016Jul 1922:57Tue
Sturgeon Moon2016Aug 1809:27Thu
Harvest Moon2016Sep 1619:05Fri
Hunters Moon2016Oct 1604:23Sun
Beaver Moon2016Nov 1413:52Mon
Cold Moon2016Dec 2400:06Sat

Crescent Moon

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.

Popular Full Moon Calendars

Some popular full moon calendars, in addition to the Waning Crescent Moon Calendar, include the following: Moon Calendar 2011, Moon Calendar 2012, Moon Calendar 2013, Moon Calendar 2014, Moon Calendar 2015, Moon Calendar 2016, Moon Calendar 2017, Moon Calendar 2018, Moon Calendar 2019, Moon Calendar 2020.

You can also check out our Full Moon Calendar, Lunar Calendar, Lunar Eclipse Calendar and Solar Eclipse Calendar!