Tonight is October 6, 2017 – and the Northern Hemisphere’s full Harvest Moon has passed. On this night, the moon is in a waning gibbous phase. That means it rises in the east later and later each evening … and it means you can catch the moon over your western horizon after sunrise in the next few mornings.
If you do catch the moon in the evening tonight or in the next few nights, notice the stars near it. On October 17, the moon is sweeping past the famous dipper-shaped Pleiades star cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters.
On October 18, the moon will be near the bright star Aldebaran and, in fact, it’ll occult or pass in front of Aldebaran from some parts of the world. Read more about the occultation of Aldebaran.
When is the best time to see the moon in the sky during daylight hours?
The answer is that the daytime moon is up there much of the time, but, because it’s pale against the blue sky, it’s not as noticeable as the moon at night. But there are certain times of the month when the daytime moon is more noticeable. This upcoming week is an example of one of those.
The most noticeable moon at night is the one that stays out all night long. That would be around the time of full moon each month, when the moon is 180 degrees from the sun, or opposite the sun in our sky. The recent full moon was on October 16, 2016 at 0423 Universal Time; translate to your time zone.
Every full moon rises around sunset and sets around sunrise. But now the moon is in a waning gibbous phase – rising later each night – and setting in the west later each day after sunrise.
So, in the several mornings after full moon – after sunrise – look for the waning gibbous moon in the west during the morning hours. At mid-northern latitudes in North America, the moon will set well over one hour after sunrise on October 7, 2017, and will set an one hour (or more) later each day thereafter.
By the way, the moon is up during the day half the time. It has to be, since it orbits around the whole Earth once a month. A crescent moon is hard to see because it’s so near the sun in the sky. At the vicinity of last quarter moon about a week from now, you might have to crane your neck, looking up, to notice it after sunrise.
Ordinarily, we don’t look up to see the waning last quarter moon and waning crescent after sunrise. That’s one reason why people so often miss the moon during the day.
Day by day, the lighted portion of the waning gibbous moon will shrink and the half-lit last quarter moon will come on October 12. Watch for the daytime moon to climb higher and higher into the western sky after sunrise all this coming week!
Bottom line: Starting around October 7, 2017, look for the daytime moon in the west after sunrise.