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Thursday, June 25, 2015

First quarter

Did you see the beautiful sunset on 24 June 2015?

I stepped outside to enjoy the shapes and colors of the clouds:

And then I looked straight up and noticed the moon:

This is a first quarter moon, occurring ~1 week after the new moon.  The first quarter moon rises at noon, is overhead at sunset, and sets ~ midnight.  It's called a first quarter moon because it's about one quarter of the way through its orbit around the Earth. 

And although it's often called a "half moon," only one quarter of the bright side of the moon is visible to us.  That is, the dark side directly opposite the bright portion (in this case, on the left) is in shadow.  And the other side of the moon (facing away from the Earth) is also half lit and half in shadow.

P.S.  Some of the facts above are from earthsky.org.

1 comment:

Skip Hand said...

About a week ago, the slender crescent moon passed by the very bright converging Jupiter and Venus which are visible low in the west from twilight ‘til they set. They continue to converge, and on June 30 the two planets will be in closest conjunction, separated by less than half a degree. Hoping for a clear sky.