It’s a challenge every month to spot the New Moon by naked-eye as early as possible.
I use the term New Moon in its traditional sense of one’s first sighting of the Moon
after its monthly solar conjunction (Dark Moon). The Dark Moon (which some call New
Moon) will be in geocentric longitudinal conjunction with the Sun on 2014 MAR 30
at 18:45 UT (13:45 CDT).
The early spotting of a New Moon is easiest for observers north of the tropics
when near the time of the vernal equinox, thus allowing the angle between the ecliptic
and horizon at sunset to be its widest. The first opportunity for North Americans
will come on March 31, with the Moon aged a little more than a day. On that same
date some sharp-eyed Europeans may spot the Moon aged less than a day. See the preview
graphics linked above.
Also above is a link to a panorama including all Diana’s Bows in 2014. That’s a waxing
crescent Moon about 10% illuminated and aged about three days. The name is a reference
to the archery equipment of the ancient Roman Goddess of Hunting and the Moon. The
graphic nicely illustrates how the season of the year affects the viewing of a waxing