Sky conditions at the time of the Titanic disaster

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Dear Tom,
While watching a documentary on the Titanic disaster, something struck me as very odd. All-weather
accounts indicated the sky was clear and full of stars at the time of the collision, yet the Moon was not visible. How is this phenomenon possible?
David Bollinger
Milwaukie, Oregon
Dear David,
The Titanic sank during the overnight hours of April 14-15, 1912, after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic about 400 miles south of Newfoundland. Skies were clear, but the waning crescent Moon with only 9% of its surface illuminated was not visible that night as it had already set at 4:04 pm. Jennifer Harbster, Head of the Science Reference Section at the Library of Congress reported that director James Cameron took the effort to accurately portray the night sky in his 1997 film, correcting the inaccurate sky that was portrayed in the original film.

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