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This week, watch for a morning moon

Tonight – August 27, 2018 – the moon is in a waning gibbous phase. August 26 was the full moon, and a full moon rises at the vicinity of sunset and sets around the time of sunrise. So, for the mainland United States, the August 27th moon rises in the east roughly an hour after sunset. That means you can catch the daytime moon over your western horizon after sunrise. Woot!

Image at top: Buddy Puckhaper of Charleston, South Carolina

View the moon in your eastern sky before going to bed on August 27. Then look for it low in your western sky right after sunrise, August 28.

The moon is up in the daytime much of the time. But, because it’s pale against the blue sky, it’s not as noticeable as the moon at night. However, there are certain times of the month when the daytime moon is more noticeable, and the coming week presents one of those times.

Why is the daytime moon noticeable now? The moon is up during the day half the time. It must be, since it orbits around the whole Earth once a month. A crescent moon is hard to see, though, 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.

This week’s moon is noticeable simply because the moon is still showing us most of its lighted face; it appears large in our sky. Also, in the hours after sunrise, the moon is fairly near the western horizon, so people driving to work or school might catch sight of it. At mid-northern latitudes in North America, the moon will set nearly two hours after sunrise on August 28, 2018, and will set roughly one hour later after sunrise each day thereafter.

These recommended almanacs can help you find the moon’s setting time in your sky

Day by day, the lighted portion of the waning gibbous moon will shrink and the half-lit last quarter moon will come on September 2 or 3 (depending on time zone). Watch for the daytime moon to climb higher and higher into the western sky at sunrise all this coming week!

Daytime moon Dec. 18, 2010

Daytime moon seen on December 18, 2010. Image by Brian Pate. Used with permission.

Bottom line: Starting around August 28, 2018, look for the daytime moon in the west after sunrise.

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Bruce McClure