Beginning around now – around the morning of June 23, 2016 – watch for the daytime moon. No matter where you are on Earth, look generally westward after sunrise in the next few mornings to see the moon in a clear blue daytime sky.
Why can you see the moon in the daytime now? The full moon took place on June 20. That means the moon is now in a waning gibbous phase, rising after nightfall and setting in a westward direction after sunrise. This upcoming week, you can see the daytime moon in the morning sky. If you look for the moon at the same time every morning, you’ll see the moon climbing higher and higher up into the sky each day all week long.
By June 27, the moon will be at the last quarter phase – rising around midnight and southward around dawn. By August 2, the moon will be new – located on a line with the Earth and sun – crossing the sky with the sun and so not visible in our sky.
People love to see the daytime moon. They wonder about it, and ask about it. Once, a reader in Kansas City wrote in with the name “children’s moon” to describe a moon visible during the day. She said this name stemmed from the idea that children can’t stay up at night late enough to see the moon when it appears only in darkness.
That story prompted another reader to send in an alternate version for the origin of the name children’s moon. She wrote:
I heard a daytime moon was called a ‘children’s moon’ because their eyes were sharp enough to pick it out, where the old folks, with fading vision, could not tell it from the clouds.
Can you see the daytime moon in the next few mornings?
Bottom line: In the days after every full moon, the moon appears in the west after sunrise, in a blue sky. Watch for it.