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 JUL 26 at 22:42 UT (17:42 CDT).
The early spotting of a New Moon becomes difficult for observers north of the tropics now that we’ve moved past the time of the summer solstice. That causes the angle at sunset to narrow between the ecliptic and the horizon. The waxing crescent Moon running south of the ecliptic this summer is also not helpful. The first opportunity for sharp-eyed North Americans may come on July 28, with the Moon aged more than two days. More folks should have luck the next evening. See my previews above for July 28-30.
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 crescent Moon.