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Where’s the moon? Waning gibbous

The supermoon has come and gone, and now the moon is rising later at night.

Image taken November 15, 2016 by Cairbre Ó Ciardha in Killiney County, Dublin, Ireland.

Can you tell this moon isn’t perfectly round? It’s a waning gibbous moon on November 15, 2016, captured by Cairbre Ó Ciardha in Killiney County, Dublin, Ireland.

Full moon was on November 14, 2016. It was a supermoon, the closest full moon since 1948. Last quarter moon will come on November 21 at 08:33 UTC. (Translate to your time zone here). So now – and in the coming few days – the moon appears as less than full but more than half lighted. Astronomers call it a waning gibbous moon.

Where is it? It’s rising later each evening. A waning gibbous moon sails over the eastern horizon in the hours between sunset and midnight. Because it comes up relatively 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.

Waning gibbous moon ascending in the east late at night, captured by Steph P Photography on November 16, 2016. Each evening, the moon will wane smaller, taking on a more oblong (and strange) shape.

Waning gibbous moon, captured by Steph P Photography on November 16, 2016. Each evening for the next few evenings, the moon will rise later and wane smaller, taking on a more oblong (and strange) shape.

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

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