It seems like an easy question, and the short answer is this: probably yes. As the moon orbits the earth it moves from new to full over the course of about 14.4 days (waxing towards full, each night it gets fuller, moving from slender crescent to bright gibbous to full) and then from full back to new (waning towards new, each night, rising about 45 minutes later, the brilliant full moon slips back to its slender crescent arc, and then again to new).
On the day of a new moon, once a month when the moon rises and sets with the sun, and perhaps for a day on either side, the print will not show a moon — it’s simply not visible in the sky at any time.
Prints produced for days when the moon is just past new, through about last quarter, will show the evening sky with the moon. Prints from last quarter through new will show the sky just before dawn, as the crescent moon sets in the west.
You can use the U.S. Naval Observatory’s moon-phase calculator to see what the moon was doing on any given date. The interface is bare-bones simple. Just key in a date and location (anything close will do for our purposes, for example any large city within a few hundred miles of the location of your event) and it will return a small chart with moonrise, transit, and set, with the phase and illumination. Any illumination above about 3% will show in the print. This will give you a chance to finesse your headline message too, when you fold the time of day into the mix.
This shows us that on this particular day the moon rose a little after 10PM and was 81% illuminated. The view in this graphic would probably be southeast around midnight, with the moon well above the horizon.
And you’re welcome to give us a call if that seems like too much work. We’ll run a quick calculation and let you know what was going on in the night sky for any given date, at any named place. 866-565-4500
And then there is this resource, at Neave.com This is a flash planetarium that returns a graphic view of the night sky when you key in a date and place. The view returned, unlike most internet night sky applications, is an elegant and informative rendering. A bit tricky to navigate at first, perhaps a touch slow, but way, way cool. Neave has some other brilliant flash apps at his site. It’s the best.