why do you see the moon during the day

Any clear morning this week around 10 a. m. you can see the moon riding high in the western sky. Many people are surprised to see the moon in full daylight, yet it is a completely normal occurrence. A very common misconception in astronomy is that the moon is directly opposite the sun in the sky. In fact, the moon is only in this position for a single instant in the whole lunar month: the exact time of, when it is 180 degrees away from the sun. The rest of the month it can be anywhere from 0 to180 degrees away and, at least in theory, visible in the daytime sky. At full moon, the moon is exactly opposite the sun. This means that the moon rises just as the sun is setting, and sets just as the sun is rising. This is also the only night in the month when a lunar eclipse can happen. Even so, eclipses normally happen only one full moon out of every six; the other times the Earth's shadow is either too high or too low to touch the moon. Two things contribute to the moon being visible in daylight. First, it is bright enough that its light penetrates the
of the sky. If you're looking at exactly the right spot with a telescope, you can also see the planets Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter in daylight, plus a few of the brightest stars (though few casual observers can actually pull this off). Secondly, the moon must be high enough in the sky to be visible. Because of the Earth's rotation, the moon is above the horizon roughly 12 hours out of every 24.


Since those 12 hours almost never coincide with the roughly 12 hours of daylight in every 24 hours, the possible window for observing the moon in daylight averages about 6 hours a day. The moon is visible in daylight nearly every day, the exceptions being close to new moon, when the moon is too close to the sun to be visible, and close to full moon when it is only visible at night. The best times in the month to see the moon in daylight are close to first and last quarter, when the moon is 90 degrees away from the sun in the sky. That's the situation this week. Last quarter is on Saturday, Sept. 12. If we set to that date, and its location to New York, we see that the moon rises at 11:06 p. m. the night before. The sun rises at 6:34 a. m. , at which time the moon is 74 degrees above the horizon, almost overhead. Sun and moon will both be above the horizon until the moon sets at 3:03 p. m. , although the moon will be hard to see for the last hour or so because of horizon haze. Similarly, the moon will be well placed for daytime observation near first quarter, which next falls on Saturday, Sept. 26. The difference here is that the sun will be leading the moon, setting at 6:46 p. m. , followed by moonset at 12:06 a. m. Once you've seen the daylight moon on these easy dates, it's worth trying to see how many days in the month you can manage to spot it.


This article was provided to SPACE. com by, the leader in space science curriculum solutions. On earth, we know that we have two bright objects in the sky: the sun and the moon. When the earth faces the sun during its rotation, the energy from the sun gives us light and heat. When the earth faces away from the sun it becomes dark and we see the moon in the sky. Every night we look up and see the familiar face of the man-in-the-moon as the brightest object. So what causes us to be able to see the moon during the day? The moon has an orbit around the earth and we can see it at night because of the reflection of the sunвs rays and energy that bounce back to the earth. This is what gives the moon the brilliant white glow. Itвs important to also remember that the earth has a rotation and an orbit around the sun. The relationship between the earth and the moon is kind of like a slow dance. The earth is tilted on an axis, all the while going around the sun and meanwhile, the moon is going around the earth. The light from the moon is bright enough to overpower the usual light that we see at particular times of the day. Most of the light that is visible to the human eye is in the blue color range and the moonвs reflected light, combined with its location gives us the chance to see it during certain daylight hours.


Due to the rotation of the moon around the earth, it is actually above our horizon for about twelve hours out of our twenty four hour day. We can only usually see the moon for about six hours during that time period, and then the bright light energy of the sun overpowers the reflection. There are times during the month when this pattern changes. When the moon is close to the вnew moonв cycle it is too close to the sun for us to see during the day and when it is nearing the вfull moonв cycle, it only becomes visible during the night. The best times to look at the moon during the daylight hours are during the first and last quarter of it cycle. That is when the moon is ninety degrees away from the sun. This is the perfect positioning of the moon during its cycle so that it isnвt too far or too close. Scientists and students that study the moon and its cycle know that, for the most part, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. However, due to the orbit of the moon it isnвt in the same place in the sky every day and night; it is actually moving in location. This means if you set up a telescope to see the moon one night and left it there to see it again the next night, you would notice that it had changed positions and you would have to adjust the telescope to see it.

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