Daytime moon is up after sunrise now

Daytime moon: Bulging white moon in blue sky over orange-red flowers.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Peter Lowenstein caught the daytime moon in its waning gibbous phase from Mutare, Zimbabwe, on May 11, 2020. He said: “Three-quarters of an hour after sunrise, I photographed the daytime moon, descending toward the top of a flowering African Tulip (Spathodia campanulta) tree.” Thank you, Peter!

Watch for a daytime moon

This month’s full moon came on the night of April 16, 2022. By April 17, the moon is in a waning gibbous phase, rising later and later on each successive night. For those at temperate latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, there’s an especially long time between moonrises on successive evenings around now. The April 17 moon will rise more than an hour after sunset. The April 18 moon will rise roughly two to three hours after sunset.

And of course a later rising time means a later setting time. That’s why the the mornings after a full moon are a good time to catch a nearly full daytime moon over your western horizon after sunrise. Watch for it!

The moon is up in the daytime half of the time. But, because it’s pale against the blue sky, it’s not as noticeable during the day as at night. Still, there are certain windows each month during which the daytime moon is most noticeable.

The third week of April 2022 presents one of those windows. It’s a good time to watch for a daytime moon.

By April 19 and 20 mornings, moon near Antares

By the mornings of April 19 and 20, 2022 (or late evening April 18 and 19), the moon will be near the bright star Antares in the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. At that time, the moon will be rising a little before midnight at mid-northern latitudes. And it’ll still be up after the sun rises, but appearing thinner in phase and higher in the sky with each new dawn.

From the Southern Hemisphere, the moon and Antares will set at early-to-mid evening. Because of Earth’s motion around the sun, Antares – like all the fixed stars – will rise about four minutes earlier each evening. Meanwhile, because of its own motion around Earth, the moon will be rising later and later each evening and thus moving away from Antares’ location in the sky.

Day by day, in the days ahead, the lighted portion of the waning gibbous moon will shrink. The half-lit last quarter moon will come on April 23, 2022.

Two waning gibbous moons, one labeled Apr 20 and one Apr 19, are on either side of a red dot labeled Antares.
Those up early on the mornings of April 19 and 20, 2022, might be asking, “What’s that bright star by the moon?” That reddish star is Antares in the constellation Scorpius. A waning gibbous moon is west of Antares on April 19 and east of the reddish star on April 20. Watch carefully, and you’ll see the moon’s phase shrink a bit from one morning to the next. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

Bottom line: You can most easily spot the moon in the morning sky – after sunrise – for a few days after full moon. Beginning around April 17, 2022, you’ll see the waning gibbous moon floating pale and beautiful against a blue sky. Look west after the sun comes up!

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April 17, 2022

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