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This week, watch for a morning moon

Tonight – August 8, 2017 – the moon is in a waning gibbous phase. August 7 was the full moon, and a full moon rises at sunset. So the August 8 moon rises in the east within an hour after sunset. And it will rise later and later each evening, although not late enough to leave skies moon-free for the 2017 Perseid meteor shower, which peaks this week, on the mornings of August 12 and 13. However, you can catch the daytime moon over your western horizon after sunrise in the next few mornings. Woot!

Image at top: Buddy Puckhaper of Charleston, South Carolina

View the moon in your eastern sky before going to bed on August 8. Then look for it low in your western sky right after sunrise, August 9.

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 is 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 roughly 1.5 hours after sunrise on August 9, 2017 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 or near August 15. 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 9, 2017 look for the daytime moon in the west after sunrise.

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Bruce McClure