User Manual for
Lunar Calendars and Eclipse Finder
Dark Moon, New Moon, Lunation

A dark moon occurs when the Sun and the Moon are astronomically conjunct (or more exactly, when either the Moon's center lies on the line joining the centers of the Earth and the Sun or the plane defined by the Sun, Earth and Moon is perpendicular to the Earth's orbital plane).

The term "new moon" is not used here, since it is ambiguous. It can mean either a dark moon or the phase of the Moon when a crescent is first visible (in which sense a month in the Muslim calendar begins at new moon).

A lunation is a passage of the Moon from one dark moon to the next. A lunation begins at the dark moon (astronomical conjunction of Sun and Moon), and the next dark moon marks the beginning of the next lunation.

The program displays a date and a time; this moment occurs within a particular lunation, and the number of that lunation is shown in square brackets []:

Lunations are numbered -1, 0, 1, 2, ... in temporal order. Lunation number 0 began with the dark moon at 18:13 GMT on 2000-01-06, following the numbering used by Jean Meeus (the lunation numbers LN are such that LN = Brown Lunation Number - 953 and LN = Goldstine Lunation Number - 37105).

The age of the Moon is the time since the previous dark moon. The percentage in parentheses gives the position of the Moon in the current lunation. Full moons usually do not occur at exactly halfway through the lunation, but usually somewhere between 48% and 52%. Dark moons, by definition, occur at exactly 0%.

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