The Moon

by Dominic Ford, Editor
Last updated: 24 Mar 2020

The Moon is 12 days old, waxing gibbous, and is approaching full moon. From Ashburn, it is visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 21:02 (EDT), 20° above your south-eastern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 23:35, 28° above your southern horizon. It will continue to be observable until around 03:38, when it sinks below -4° above your south-western horizon.

17 Jun 2021  –  Moon at First Quarter
24 Jun 2021  –  Full Moon
01 Jul 2021  –  Moon at Last Quarter
09 Jul 2021  –  New Moon
The Moon

The Moon at First Quarter. Simulated image courtesy of Tom Ruen.

The Moon is the Earth's only natural satellite, orbiting it once every 27.3 days, at a distance of 380,000 km (0.00254 astronomical units).

It has almost exactly the same angular size as the Sun – roughly half a degree – a coincidence which means it can occasionally completely cover the Sun's disk to generate a total solar eclipse, but with so little margin that the geometry has to be absolutely exact.

The Moon is the only heavenly body on which surface features can be resolved by the unaided eye. Its mottled pattern of light and dark areas represent two distinct types of terrain. The dark areas are called maria – originally so named because they were thought to be oceans of water, but they are now known to be vast flat volcanic planes. Between the maria, the lighter colored terrain is considerably rougher and more mountainous – the lunar highlands.

To bring the Moon's heavily cratered surface into view, nothing more expensive than a cheap pair of binoculars is needed.

Dates of the Moon's phases

The table below lists the phases of the Moon in 2021, computed from NASA's DE430 planetary ephemeris. To show events in other years, use the control below.

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The Moons phases in 2021

Date Event Moon's declination
Date Event Moon's declination
06 Jan 2021 04:37 ESTMoon at Last Quarter1°58'S
13 Jan 2021 00:01 ESTNew Moon24°19'S
20 Jan 2021 16:02 ESTMoon at First Quarter8°06'N
28 Jan 2021 14:16 ESTFull Moon21°50'N
04 Feb 2021 12:37 ESTMoon at Last Quarter13°58'S
11 Feb 2021 14:06 ESTNew Moon18°11'S
19 Feb 2021 13:48 ESTMoon at First Quarter19°03'N
27 Feb 2021 03:17 ESTFull Moon12°55'N
05 Mar 2021 20:30 ESTMoon at Last Quarter22°40'S
13 Mar 2021 05:22 ESTNew Moon7°24'S
21 Mar 2021 10:41 EDTMoon at First Quarter24°58'N
28 Mar 2021 14:48 EDTFull Moon1°01'N
04 Apr 2021 06:03 EDTMoon at Last Quarter25°21'S
11 Apr 2021 22:32 EDTNew Moon5°00'N
20 Apr 2021 02:59 EDTMoon at First Quarter23°56'N
26 Apr 2021 23:31 EDTFull Moon11°02'S
03 May 2021 15:50 EDTMoon at Last Quarter21°16'S
11 May 2021 15:01 EDTNew Moon16°18'N
19 May 2021 15:13 EDTMoon at First Quarter16°45'N
26 May 2021 07:13 EDTFull Moon20°40'S
02 Jun 2021 03:25 EDTMoon at Last Quarter12°03'S
10 Jun 2021 06:54 EDTNew Moon23°50'N
17 Jun 2021 23:54 EDTMoon at First Quarter5°53'N
24 Jun 2021 14:39 EDTFull Moon25°26'S
01 Jul 2021 17:11 EDTMoon at Last Quarter0°14'S
09 Jul 2021 21:17 EDTNew Moon25°24'N
17 Jul 2021 06:11 EDTMoon at First Quarter6°12'S
23 Jul 2021 22:36 EDTFull Moon23°49'S
31 Jul 2021 09:16 EDTMoon at Last Quarter11°48'N
08 Aug 2021 09:51 EDTNew Moon20°30'N
15 Aug 2021 11:20 EDTMoon at First Quarter17°12'S
22 Aug 2021 08:01 EDTFull Moon16°21'S
30 Aug 2021 03:13 EDTMoon at Last Quarter21°32'N
06 Sep 2021 20:52 EDTNew Moon10°43'N
13 Sep 2021 16:39 EDTMoon at First Quarter24°34'S
20 Sep 2021 19:54 EDTFull Moon5°02'S
28 Sep 2021 21:57 EDTMoon at Last Quarter26°04'N
06 Oct 2021 07:06 EDTNew Moon1°35'S
12 Oct 2021 23:25 EDTMoon at First Quarter25°45'S
20 Oct 2021 10:56 EDTFull Moon7°41'N
28 Oct 2021 16:05 EDTMoon at Last Quarter23°29'N
04 Nov 2021 17:15 EDTNew Moon13°54'S
11 Nov 2021 07:46 ESTMoon at First Quarter20°00'S
19 Nov 2021 03:57 ESTFull Moon19°04'N
27 Nov 2021 07:28 ESTMoon at Last Quarter14°31'N
04 Dec 2021 02:44 ESTNew Moon23°12'S
10 Dec 2021 20:36 ESTMoon at First Quarter9°00'S
18 Dec 2021 23:35 ESTFull Moon25°41'N
26 Dec 2021 21:24 ESTMoon at Last Quarter1°52'N

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39.04°N
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