Fragile Oasis

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A (New) Moon is Born

I saw the waning crescent moon, a small sliver of white rising above the Earth limb. It reminded me of a glowing fingernail clipping. Like a rainbow of only blue, the atmosphere on edge filled the gap between Earth and space—electrifying diaphanous beauty.

Venus was there, watching. Aldebaran in Taurus was an orange dot. The ghost of Full Moon Past, the complete lunar disk, was dimly lit by the bluish hue of earthshine. The time was 07:45 GMT on June 18, 2012.

One orbit later, at 09:17 GMT, I saw a sliver of a sliver.

Work beckoned me for the next three orbits (about four and a half hours) before I could observe another moonrise.

At 13:56 GMT, there was only the smallest glint that we even had a Moon.

The next orbit I was waiting at dawn, but saw no moon. Initially I was baffled. Then it occurred to me that I had been witness to the birth of a New Moon.