EarthSky’s lunar calendar is a unique, beautiful poster-sized calendar printed in lush silver on deep blue, providing the phases of the moon for every day of the year, and noting each month’s new and full moons. It shows the moon waxing from new to full, and waning from full to new. It’s gorgeous. It’s the best gift ever! And it’ll help you get in touch with nature. What more could you ask? Read the six tips below and enjoy your moon calendar.
1. First, get to know your calendar. The horizontal row at the top represents months of the year. The vertical rows to the right and left give you the date. Yep. It’s just that simple.
2. Enjoy the moon’s cycle. One cycle, from new moon to new moon, is called a lunar month or synodic month. The mean length of the phase cycle is 29.53059 days (29 days 12 hours 44 minutes), though in reality it can vary from about 29.3 to 29.8 days.
3. Each night, notice the moon’s phase. The phase of the moon will let you know if the moon will be out tonight, and when. At new moon: moon not visible (unless there’s a solar eclipse). At first quarter: moon lights up the evening hours, setting in the west around midnight. At full moon: moon stays out all night long. At last quarter: moon rises in the east around midnight, and can be found in the morning sky.
4. Realize that the moon is a world in space. Like Earth, it’s always half-lit by sunshine and half-engulfed in its own shadow. But the percentage of the moon’s daylight side that we see from Earth changes. The moon’s night side faces us at new moon, and its totally illuminated day side faces us at full moon. The terminator – the shadow line dividing the lunar day from the lunar night – shows you where it’s sunrise on the moon as the moon waxes from new to full. It shows you where it’s sunset on the moon as the moon wanes from full to new.
5. Collect ’em. Hold on to your EarthSky lunar calendars, even after the year has passed. If you post them on your wall side by side, they make a very cool wave pattern. Plus … consider that the ancients discovered that 235 lunar (synodic) months almost exactly equal 19 years. That means the phases of the moon will recur – or nearly recur – on the same calendar dates 19 years from now. Woot!
6. Order your EarthSky lunar calendar today and enjoy a newfound appreciation for the lunar month and the intriguing cycle of lunar phases.
Bottom line: Here’s why you need an EarthSky lunar calendar, top tips for using it, and a place to order one. Enjoy a newfound appreciation for the lunar month and lunar phases. Live by the moon!
Bruce McClure has served as lead writer for EarthSky's popular Tonight pages since 2004. He's a sundial aficionado, whose love for the heavens has taken him to Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and sailing in the North Atlantic, where he earned his celestial navigation certificate through the School of Ocean Sailing and Navigation. He also writes and hosts public astronomy programs and planetarium programs in and around his home in upstate New York.