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Where’s the moon? Waxing gibbous

It appears more than half, but less than full. The full moon coming up on the night of June 9 will be the smallest of 2017.

Daniela Ghizdareanu in Bucharest captured the waxing gibbous moon on June 5, 2017 and wrote: “Bella luna tonight shining in a splendid summer sky.”

Watch for the waxing gibbous moon this week. It’s more than half-lighted, but less than full. A waxing gibbous moon rises during the hours between noon and sunset. It sets in the wee hours after midnight. This June waxing gibbous moon is heading toward the smallest full moon of 2017 on June 9 at 13:10 UTC; translate to your timezone).

A waxing gibbous moon phase falls between a first quarter moon and a full moon.

People often see a waxing gibbous moon in the afternoon, shortly after moonrise, while it’s ascending in the east as the sun is descending in the west. It’s easy to see a waxing gibbous moon in the daytime because, at this phase of the moon, a respectably large fraction of the moon’s dayside is now facing our way.

Any moon that appears more than half lighted but less than full is called a gibbous moon. The word gibbous comes from a root word that means hump-backed.

A gibbous moon can also be a waning gibbous, in the week between full moon and last quarter moon.

Point of interest on a waxing gibbous moon: Sinus Iridum (Bay of Rainbows) surrounded by the Jura Mountains. Photo by Lunar 101-Moon Book in Toronto, Canada.

Another shot of the waxing gibbous moon, with Sinus Iridum (Bay of Rainbows) clearly visible, from P. Weeks in Greenville, North Carolina. Watch for it!

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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