A thin slither of crescent Moon low in the western sky soon after sunset is always a striking sight. In the first couple of days after new Moon, it is often just possible to discern the rest of the Moon's face, faintly revealed by Earthshine, as well as the bright crescent. Were you on the Moon, you would clearly see why. The full Earth, shining brilliantly with reflected sunlight in your night sky, would be flooding the grey lunar surface with a ghostly light. The new crescent Moon will show itself on Thursday and Friday evenings of the coming week if the sky is clear.

In the same part of the sky, you may be able to glimpse the fading comet Hale-Bopp. Don't be surprised if you spot early morning meteors this week, too. The Eta Aquarid shower peaks on 4 May, but the low sky altitude of its radiant limits visibility in the UK.

Jaqueline Mitton