Moon phases

Posted by Carol
Aug 21 2009

I’m EXTREMELY keen to get started with star-gazing – or, rather, moon gazing to start off with. Best to begin with a big bright target methinks!

I noticed last night that I couldn’t see the moon at all but I put it down to cloud cover. Now I’ve since done a bit of research about moon phases and this is what I’ve learned:

  • The shape of a moon varies from a “full moon” (which is when the earth is between the sun and the moon) to a “new moon” (which is when the moon is between the sun and the earth).
  • The moon is set to be “waxing” as it progresses from a new moon to a full moon. It is said to be “waning” as it progresses from full moon back to new moon.
  • The moon rises and sets just like the sun does! A new moon rises and sets at the same time as the sun. As the moon “waxes” (e.g. to become a crescent or half moon), it gradually rises and sets a little later each day. By the time it is a full moon, it rises pretty much when the sun sets and the moon sets around the time the sun rises. As the moon wanes, the moonrise and moonset times continue to get later until it ends up rising at the same time as the sun again – and that’s it back to being a new moon again!

So, having looked up the moonrise and moonset times for Glasgow (reasonably close to me), they are as follows:

Today – rising at 7.30am, setting at 8.32pm
Tomorrow – rising at 9.50am, setting at 8.42pm
23rd August – rising at 10.36am, setting at 8.52pm
24th August – rising at 12.04pm, setting at 9.05pm
25th August – rising at 1.30pm, setting at 9.21pm
26th August – rising at 2.52pm, setting at 9.44pm
27th August – rising at 4.06pm, setting at 10.16pm

So it’ll probably be quite a few days before the moon is visible during darkness.

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