Here are the characteristics of a first quarter moon:
– It’s the moon phase halfway between new moon and full moon.
– It’s a waxing moon.
– As viewed from anywhere on Earth, a first quarter moon appears at its highest in the sky at sunset. It sets around the middle of the night.
– It’s called a quarter moon, but, from Earth, it looks half-illuminated, like half a pie. Or you might say that – at first quarter moon – we’re seeing half the moon’s day side or a quarter of the whole moon.
There’s another reason we call this moon a quarter and not a half. It’s because it’s one quarter of the way around in its orbit of Earth, as measured from one new moon to the next.
And what about the term half moon? That’s a beloved term, but not an official one.
Bottom line: The next 1st quarter moon will come on Friday, October 23, 2020, at 13:22 UTC.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.