Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

251,514 subscribers and counting ...

Where’s the moon? Waning gibbous

Watch for the moon late at night now, or before dawn. Last quarter moon will come on May 18 or 19, depending on your time zone.

Waning gibbous moon captured on the morning of May 14, 2017 by 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. Last quarter moon will come on May 19, 2017 at 00:33 UTC. (Translate to your time zone here). For time zones in the Americas, Europe and Africa, watch for the last quarter moon on the night of May 18.

A waning gibbous moon 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.

What else 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.

Wonderful photo of a waning gibbous moonrise over Toronto, via our friend Lunar 101 Moon Book.

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 2017: Phases, cycles, eclipses, supermoons and more

Deborah Byrd

MORE ARTICLES