Sunrises and sunsets are glorified in society. There are those who associate such moments to symbolize a number of things, a spiritual awakening, a romantic occasion, the start and end of a new day, and karma.
Interestingly, Moonrises and Moonsets are just as celebrated. If you’re a space aficionado who’s taken the time to study Moonrise time, then, you’ve probably already discovered that the position of Moonrises varies as the Earth goes around the Sun.
Since Moonrise time is also dependent on the phases of the Moon, it’s necessary that we take a closer inspection at the amazing phases of the Moon:
This describes the beginning portion of the Moon’s phases. New Moons typically happen when the Moon is situated between the Sun and the Earth. From Earth, we can’t view the New Moon since the dark side of the moon (non-illuminated part) is facing the Earth.
During this phase, the Moon usually travels East in the sky. Since it follows after the New Moon, there’s a couple of times you may not be able to see the rest of the Moon thanks to the “Earthshine” phenomenon where the Earth reflects sunlight to the moon.
This phase occurs when you can view the 1st half of the moon when it’s illuminated. Depending on your location on Earth, you may see a different half of the Moon being lit up.
Spanning the period between the 1st Quarter phase and the Full Moon phase, during this phase, the Moon progressively becomes more illuminated until it gets fully illuminated in the next phase.
This happens when the entire face of the Moon is completely illuminated by the Sun. Since Full Moons occur when the Sun and Moon are on opposite sides of the Earth, Super moon is used to describe the point where the Moon is closest to the Earth. On the flip side, Micro-moon describes the farthest point the Moon goes from the sun.
Here, the moon’s illuminated area progressively decreasing during this phase and it lasts until the moon is half illuminated.
This is actually the opposite of the 1st Quarter Moon. It usually indicates that the lunar phase is actually 75% complete.
As the very last stage of the lunar cycle, this phase starts when the Sun illuminates less than half of the Moon and proceeds until it transitions to the New Moon phase. It officially ends when both the Moon and the Sunrise at the same time, an indicator of the lunar cycle restarting again.
Before we really get deep into it, a closer look at the basics is necessary. We’re well aware that the Earth is inclined at an angle of 23.5 degrees to the plane of its own orbit. Since the Earth goes around the Sun, there are times that the Earth is tilted closer to the Sun and at other times, it is tilted away from it.
It is this action that is responsible for the different seasons that we have all around the year. With the Sun taking different paths across the sky, the position of the Sunrise/Sunset in the Northern Hemisphere is as follows:
|Season||Position of Sunrise/Sunset|
*To get the position of the sunrise and sunset in the Southern Hemisphere, you simply need to exchange North for South and vice versa.
Notably, Moonrises happen about 50 minutes later each day than the day before. As such, if you’re looking to find out the time of moonrise for each day of the month, you need to simply add 50 minutes for each day after a phase or simply just subtract 50 minutes for each day prior to a new phase.
Remarkably, it’s only during the equinoxes i.e. September/March 21st that the Sunrise/set at due East/West position. During the solstices i.e. December/June 21st, the position is at the furthest point South/North of East/West. Of course, the distance of this fully depends on your latitude.
All this is important if you’re looking to gain a good comprehension of Moonrise time. Ideally, you need to factor in that the Moon is always changing phases all through the year. Since the phases of the Moon are pegged on the relative positions of the Sun, Moon, and the Earth, calculating Moonrise time becomes easy to do.
In essence, when the Moon is Full, it lies opposite the Earth from the Sun, therefore, Moonrise happens when the Sun is setting sets and Moonset happens when the Sun rises.
A good summary of what happens is indicated in this table:
|1st Quarter||Local Noon||Local Midnight|
|3rd Quarter||Local Midnight||Local Noon|
Incidentally, when the Moon is New, it rises and sets at the same time as the Sun.
It’s worth documenting that during the New Moon, the position of the Moonrise/set is pretty much just the same as the Sunrise and Sunset. On the flip side, position of the Full Moon is inverted from this pattern.
|Season||Position of Moonrise/Moonset|
|NEW||1st Quarter||FULL||3rd Quarter|
*The variation of the Moonrise/Moonset positions depends on your latitude
There’s no disputing that Moonrises are special. If you’re situated at a high ground or in a location where you can visibly see the horizon, then you should be able to easily spot the Moonrise whenever it happens.
If you’d love to learn more, make sure you have a look at our spectacular Moon Phase Mug that notifies you about the current moon phase of the day once you scan the bottom. You can jot down your observations using our special Apollo 11 Notebook and let your imagination soar to the depths of the universe.
Since our products are infused with the magic of augmented reality, you’re sure to have a fun-immersive experience that will help you become a better student of the cosmos. Happy journaling!