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Moonrise and Moonset
Moonrise is typically defined as the first appearance of the moon over the Earth's eastern horizon, or when the upper edge of the Moon's disk touches the horizon.
Moonset is typically defined as the instant when the moon is no longer visible in the horizon. Moonset occurs when the upper edge of the Moon's disk touches the horizon.
Moonrise and moonset can vary, and are based on the geographic Latitude and Longitude. Please note that time and direction of moonrise/moonset differs if there are mountains or other obstacles in the way, as we assume a flat surface with no obstructions. On some days, the Moon may not rise or set due to the fact that the moon is constantly in motion. Since the timespan between moonrises and moonsets is a little longer than 24 hours, some days may just miss the cutoff and not have a rise or set that day. The moon can be surprisingly complex!
The phase of the moon is bascially the shape of the sunlit portion as viewed from Earth. Lunar phases gradually change over the next 29.53 days, also known as a synodic month. Various factors determine moon phase such as the position of the moon in its orbit, the Earth's position around the Sun shift, and the age of the moon in its synodic month. As such, illumination can vary from 0% (new moon) to 100% (full moon).
Wondering what's the moon phase today? The moon rotates around the Earth every 29.5 days in an elliptical shape, and due to lunar apogee and perigee, each quarter phase can vary slightly in duration, but is commonly approximated at 7.4 days. The 4 main phases are New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon, Last Quarter.
🌑 New moon occurs when the Moon cannot be seen because we are looking at the unlit half of the Moon. The new moon phase occurs when the Moon is directly between the Earth and Sun. A solar eclipse can only happen at new moon.
🌒 Waxing crescent moon occurs when the Moon looks like crescent and the crescent increases ("waxes") in size from one day to the next.
🌓 First quarter moon occurs when half of the lit portion of the Moon is visible after the waxing crescent phase. It occurs approximately a week after new moon.
🌔 Waxing gibbous moon is when more than half of the lit portion of the Moon can be seen and the shape increases ("waxes") in size from one day to the next. The waxing gibbous phase occurs between the first quarter and full moon phases.
🌕 Full moon occurs when we can see the entire lit portion of the Moon.
🌖 Waning gibbous moon is when more than half of the lit portion of the Moon can be seen and the shape decreases ("wanes") in size from one day to the next. The waning gibbous phase occurs between the full moon and third quarter phases.
🌗 Last quarter moon (or a half moon) occurs when half of the lit portion of the Moon is visible after the waning gibbous phase.
🌘 Waning crescent moon is when the Moon looks like the crescent and the crescent decreases ("wanes") in size from one day to the next.
Old moon is when a moon with only a tiny bit of it seen in the corner, about to turn into a new moon.
A full moon occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, and we see it fully illuminated. A Full Moon occurs twelve times a year, and each occurrence has a different name (or several different names) based on culture and folklore. In the Northern Hemisphere, Moon names are specific to the time of year in which they occur. Native Americans primarily assigned names to each of the Full Moons depending on time of the year, weather cycles, hunting, harvest, fishing and/or planting seasons. Other Full Moon names originated in Europe and the names were integrated with Native names, and by 1955 distinct names for Full Moons became listed in The Farmer’s Almanac.
A supermoon is a full moon, or new moon, that occurs near to the perigee—the point in the orbit of the moon which is nearest to the Earth—resulting in a slightly larger-than-usual apparent size of the moon as viewed from Earth. For accurate lunar tables based on your geographical location, check out our moonrise and moonset calendar.
Moon Age and Illumination
Moon Age is typically defined as the moon's total amount of days into the new synodic month. i.e. The number of days counted from the time of the new moon. For instance, a moon that is 7.4 days old is typically in its First Quarter phase. A complete cycle of phases is called a lunation.
Moon Illumination is the percent of the moon's surface that is illuminated by the sun, as viewed from Earth. Illumination is constantly changing, depending of time of day. As such, our moonrise calendar illumination reference timepoint is Midnight, at the start of the day.