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Where’s the moon? Waning gibbous

You’ll find the moon rising late at night, and, if you look closely, you might catch it in a blue daytime sky, in the west after sunrise.

Waning gibbous moon February 3, 2018, from Deirdre Horan in Dublin, Ireland.

Are you looking for the moon and not finding it? That’s because the moon is now in a waning gibbous phase: less than full but more than half-lighted. It’s rising later at night and appearing in the predawn sky and in the sky after sunrise. Last quarter moon will come on February 7, 2018, at 15:54 UTC; translate to your time zone.

A waning gibbous moon 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.

A waning gibbous moon can be seen in a blue daytime sky. Look west after sunrise. This photo is from February 2, 2018, by Jenney Disimon in Sabah, North Borneo.

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.

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

Deborah Byrd

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