One of the challenges taken up by a small but dedicated group of amateur astronomers is observing and photographing very “young” or very “old” crescent moons. Another why of stating this is: What is the thinnest crescent moon one can see or photograph?
Young moons can be seen in the evening just after sunset. Old moons are seen in the morning just before sunrise. The challenge, and danger, is observing the Moon when it is so very close to the Sun. The Sun’s glare washes out the thin crescent and can cause eye damage if proper precautions are not taken. This happens every month just before and after the new moon.
Think of the thinnest crescent moon you have seen and compare it to this. Thierry Legault took this picture on July 8, 2013. It is the thinnest crescent moon you can possibly get, taken at the exact moment of the new moon. There is no way you can see this and it extremely difficult to photograph. The Moon and Sun are in the same place in the sky. Thierry had some interesting tricks to pull the photograph off.
For more incredible images by Thierry visit his web site here. There are some truly amazing photographs.
Observing young or old moons is not beyond the average non-astronomer to do, but is does take persistence and a lot of planning. Look here for more information.
Wishing you clear skies