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See the daytime moon

Tonight – August 20, 2016 – the moon is in a waning gibbous phase. That means it rises in the east later than it did last night. And it will rise later and later each evening … so that you can catch the daytime moon over your western horizon after sunrise in the next few mornings.

View the moon in your eastern sky before going to bed this evening, August 20, and then look for the moon low in your western sky right after sunrise, August 21. Sylvia asked:

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 next week presents a fine time to look for the daytime moon.

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.

Full moon was on August 18, 2016 at 9:27 UTC. Translate to your time zone here.

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 following 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 roughly 2.5 hours after sunrise on August 21, 2016 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

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. The 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 or near August 25. 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 21, 2016 look for the daytime moon in the west after sunrise.

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Bruce McClure

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