View Full Version : Is there a pattern for moons height above horizon

2003-Dec-02, 05:01 AM
Pretty straight forward question.

My situation is this. I had to do a moon observation assignment but I forgot to record where in the sky I saw the moon. I looked about and noticed that its always in different parts of the sky. Sometimes it would be SouthWest and high in the sky, other times it would be SouthEast and low in the sky.

Is there any pattern or is it always random at which direction and height the moon appears ?

Im located in Toronto and had to observe during the month of Nov. 2003
(dont know if that has any relevance)

Is there any site or organization that records such data ?
I found a bunch recording the moon phase, but no one seems to record the location

thanks a bunch

2003-Dec-02, 06:27 AM
The variables are the time of day of the observation, the time of year, and the lunar phase.

The new moon rises in the east with the sun, the first quater moon rises around noon, the full moon rises at sunset, and the third quarter mon rises around midnight. Generally speaking the moon will be high in the sky when the sun is low (i.e. northern hemisphere winter) and vise versa.

Dave Mitsky

2003-Dec-03, 02:06 AM
Hi There,

Here's another moon fact:

The full moon crosses the sky on the same path that the sun did 6 months previous.

And, coincidentally, when the moon is totally eclipsed, as it was on November 8th in Canada, during it's totality phase it's 180 degrees (or directly opposite) from where the sun is. Cool, eh?

2003-Dec-03, 02:22 AM
Try this website :

www.skymaps.com (http://www.skymaps.com)

They usually give u what time to observe the Moon at the sky...

oh just visit the Article section on this website

Thanks to my Astr. teacher

2003-Dec-03, 05:28 AM
[COLOR=green] The position of the moon in the sky, depends mostly on the phase.
If it's full, it will be opposite the sun, not only rising when the sun is setting but when the sun is high the moon will be low and vice versa. As the moon changes phase it becomes closer and closer to the position of the sun. So a full moon in december is as high as the noon sun in June, but the last quarter and and the rest of the waning phase, will draw closer and closer to the positions that the sun takes during the day.

George Reynolds
2003-Dec-03, 03:01 PM
The Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night. That time varies with the season of the year. Because the Moon orbits the Earth in the same direction as the Earth's rotation on its axis, (counter-clockwise if viewed from a point above the North Pole), it "gains" on the earth each day, and thus rises later each night.

A 2-day old waxing crescent moon will rise shortly after the Sun rises, and will be up all day, but we won't see it for the Sun's glare and its close proximity to the Sun. At sunset we can see the crescent Moon low in the west. It will set about 30-45 minutes after sunset. A few days later, the 7-day-old First Quarter Moon (also called "half-moon") will rise about 6 hours after the Sun rises and will set about six hours after sunset. A week after that, the 14-day-old Moon will be the Full Moon, rising 12 hours after sunrise, or approximately at sunset. It will be up all night, and will set about sunrise the next day. Seven days later, the 21-day-old Moon (also called "last quarter" or "third quarter" or "waning half-moon") will rise about 18 hours after sunrise, or about six hours after sunset (same thing), roughly around midnight, and will set around noon the next day. It will be readily visible in the morning sky. For the next 5 or 6 days the waning crescent moon will be visible during the day, until the next New Moon, when the moon rises and sets with the sun, and will not be visible to the eye. And the cycle starts all over again.

This may be more info than you wanted to know, but that's a simplified explanation of the complex orbit of the Moon. There are several good books that explain the Moon's features and motions in the sky. My favorite is Cherrington's _Exploring the Moon Through Binoculars and Small Telescopes_, available on Amazon.com. Another good small but thorough book is _The Moon Book_ by Kim Long.

George Reynolds
Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
36*53'N Lat., 76*09' W Long.

2003-Dec-03, 07:27 PM
The postion of the moon is predicatable, so, if you know your own latitude and longitude, pick a date and time and you can work out the direction in which the moon lies. You can either do the programming yourself, in Basic or Fortran,say (a bit much like hard work!), or download a program like "Xephem" from http://www.clearskyinstitute.com/xephem, if you have a Linux or MacOS system to run it on. When you have it running, you find the positions of the moon and planets for any time and position on the Earth you like. :)