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The New Moon is supposed to be entirely black, right? Wrong. Astrophotographer Thierry Legault photographed yesterday's New Moon over Normandy, France, and he found an exquisitely-thin crescent of light:

"I went to Normandy to find the clear sky I needed to photograph this crescent at the exact moment of the New Moon (May 15th at 11:48 UTC)," says Legault. "This is the youngest possible crescent, the age of the Moon at this instant being exactly zero. The irregularities and discontinuities in the crescent are real; they are caused by mountains and craters at the edge of the lunar disk."

The Moon was only 5 degrees from the sun in broad daylight when Legault took the picture. "At this very small separation, the crescent is extremely thin (a few arc seconds at maximum) and, above all, it is drowned in the solar glare, the blue sky being about 1000 times brighter than the crescent itself. In order to reduce the glare, I used an infrared filter and a pierced screen in front of the telescope to prevent stray sunlight from entering." he explains.