The image above shows a daytime moon, like the one you might see sometime next week. Want to see the real thing? Look in the southwest to west 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 a day or two ago. 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 that the moon climbs higher and higher up into the sky all week long.
By June 19, the moon will be at the last quarter phase – rising around midnight and southward around dawn. By June 27, 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 this upcoming week? In the morning, look for it low in the southwest sky shortly after sunrise tomorrow, and rather high up in the southern sky about a week from now.