What is tonight’s moonrise time? Find out how to calculate when the Moon will rise tonight. Also, why is the new Moon invisible and why can we sometimes see the Moon during the day? Find out the answers to these questions.
A common lunar puzzle involves finding when the Moon will rise each night. Folks who enjoy the outdoors and the wonders of nature may wish to commit to memory the words on our handy chart below.
What is the Definition of Moonrise?
Moonrise is defined as the moment when the upper edge of the Moon’s disk touches the horizon.
Finding Moonrise Times
- Moonrise (and, incidentally, the time of high tide) occurs about 50 minutes later each day than the day before.
- To determine the time of moonrise for each day of the month, just add 50 minutes for each day after a phase or subtract 50 minutes for each day prior to a new phase.
- In following the chart below, care must be taken when using the terms Moon and midnight. These are affected by adjustments for daylight saving time and to a lesser degree by one’s longitude in a particular time zone. (Sunrise and sunset, of course, are definitive times regardless of people’s tamperings with the clock.)
|The new Moon always rises near sunrise.|
|The first quarter Moon always rises near noon.|
|The full Moon always rises near sunset.|
|The last quarter Moon always rises near midnight.|
Of course, you can always check the Almanac’s Moonrise calculator for the exact times in your zip code!
Why is the New Moon Invisible?
The new Moon is invisible because it is approximately between Earth and the Sun, so the dark half of the Moon is facing us and the sunlit half is facing the Sun. (Sometimes, the new Moon is directly in front of the Sun, in which case we’d see a solar eclipse.)
One or two days after the date of the new Moon, we can see it in the western sky as a thin crescent setting just after sunset.
Why Can We See the Moon During the Day?
Sometimes you can indeed see the Moon during the daytime.
One reason we can’t see the Moon during the day is because the Sun is so bright! Secondly, the Moon is not always above the horizon due to its Moon phase to be visible. The Moon is only visible 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.
Since the Moon has no light of its own but merely reflects sunlight, we see a full Moon rise in the east when the Sun is setting in the west. Sometimes the Moon rise/set and Sun rise/set times overlap, so you can see the Full Moon during the day.
The best Moon phase for seeing the Moon during daylight is the First Quarter and Last Quarter, when the Moon is 90 degrees away from the Sun in the sky. Near the New Moon, it’s too close to the Sun to be visible and when it is near the full Moon, it is only visible at night after the Sun sets.
More Moon Facts
A little confused about some of these Moon terms? Check out our glossary of lunar terms.
Why does the Moon sometimes look so big when it’s rising? Find out!