As a preeminence of thumb, a Full Moon have the right to only be checked out at night. So, why do our Moon Phase Charts show that some Full Moons take place in the daytime?


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Moon phases are identified by the Moon"s position, not its visibility.

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Full Moon Only Visible at Night

During the minute of the Full Moon, the Sun and also the Moon are on oppowebsite sides of the Earth, and the Moon"s illuminated side deals with the night side of Earth (see illustration). So, by interpretation, a Full Moon deserve to commonly only be seen during the night.

If you have actually ever before spotted a Full Moon simply after sunclimb or simply before sunset, it is very most likely that you witnessed it at least at some point before or after the actual Full Moon phase. Very seldom, if the conditions are just best, you might also be able to view an actual Full Moon extremely close to the horizon and also opposite to the Sun, during sunclimb or sunset. In basic, but, the Moon is always below the horizon while the Sun is up on the day of the Full Moon.

So, why carry out our Moon Phase Charts display some Full Moons following in the middle of the day?

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Alignment Determines Moon Phase

The answer lies in the technique astronomers use to identify the minute of each Moon phase. The phases of the Moon are not identified by the Moon"s visibility from a particular location on Planet, however by the Moon"s position on its orlittle approximately Planet.

For example, the New Moon phase occurs at the precise minute as soon as the Moon is in between the Sun and also the Planet, and the three bodies develop an extra or much less directly line. Conversely, it is officially Full Moon when the Moon is aligned with the Sun and also Planet while at the oppowebsite end of its orbit, on the night side of Earth.

Astronomers call this alignment a syzygy of the Sun-Earth-Moon system.

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A Full Moon in Lofoten, Normeans.

Visibility Depends on Location

By this interpretation, the Full Moon alignment happens at one particular minute in time, irrespective of the time of day in any particular place. Because fifty percent of our planet constantly deals with the Sun, a Full Moon will certainly always happen in the time of the day in some locations, while it is night in others. If your location happens to face the Sun at the moment of the alignment, our charts will certainly display a Full Moon throughout the daytime—although you will not be able to view it at that specific moment.

What is the Moon Illusion?

Moon Looks Full for Days

While the Full Moon phase is technically a certain minute in time—the instant of the syzygy—the Moon looks fully illuminated for some days prior to and also after the actual alignment, in the time of the late stages of the Waxing Gibbous Moon and also the beginning of the Waning Gibbous Moon.

As such, weather permitting, everyone on Planet will certainly watch a completely illuminated Moon in the nights surrounding the Full Moon alignment, also though only 98% or 99% of the visible fifty percent of the Moon may be illuminated.

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Tip: Our Moon Phase charts display the actual illumination portion for a minute of your alternative and a realistic live computer animation of the current Moon phase.

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Dec 18, 2021 at 11:35 pm

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Nov 19, 2021 at 3:57 am

Times for the Full Moon differ by time zone. Times and also dates are based upon the regional time in Ann Arbor. Change location