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Where’s the moon? Waning gibbous

The Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon has come and gone. The moon is now waning and rising later at night.

Waning gibbous moon on the night of September 18, 2016 from Deirdre Horan in Dublin, Ireland.

Waning gibbous moon on the night of September 18, 2016 from Deirdre Horan in Dublin, Ireland.

Full moon was September 16, 2016. Last quarter moon will come on September at 0956 UTC. (Translate to your time zone here). So the moon now appears as less than full but more than half lighted. Astronomers call it a waning gibbous moon.

Where is it? It’s rising late at night. A waning gibbous moon sails over the eastern horizon in the hours between sunset and midnight. Because it comes up late at night, the waning gibbous moon prompts people to start asking

Where is the moon? I looked for it last night and couldn’t find it.

If you can’t find the moon tonight, just stay up a little later. It’ll rise in the east, eventually.

What can I say about a waning gibbous moon? Only that it can surprise you if you happen to be out late in the evening. It rises eerily some hours after sunset, glowing red like a full moon when it’s near the horizon.

Sometimes it looks like a misshapen clone of a full moon.

Also, a waning gibbous moon also initiates a rash of questions about seeing the moon during the day. If it rises late at night, you know the waning gibbous moon must set after sunrise.

In fact, in the few days after full moon, you’ll often see the waning gibbous moon in the west in early morning, floating against the pale blue sky.

Waning gibbous moon on July 23, 2016 by Patricia Evans. She wrote:

A waning gibbous moon is often visible in the west, in the morning. Patricia Evans captured this photo and wrote: “I am always fascinated to see the moon against blue sky! My Dad used to say, ‘Oh look… they forgot to put the moon away.'”

As the moon orbits Earth, it changes phase in an orderly way. Follow these links to understand the various phases of the moon.

Four keys to understanding moon phases

Where’s the moon? Waxing crescent
Where’s the moon? First quarter
Where’s the moon? Waxing gibbous
What’s special about a full moon?
Where’s the moon? Waning gibbous
Where’s the moon? Last quarter
Where’s the moon? Waning crescent
Where’s the moon? New phase

Moon in 2016: Phases, cycles, eclipses, supermoons and more

Deborah Byrd