Simulated image courtesy of Tom Ruen.

Moon at Last Quarter

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Moon feed

Objects: The Moon
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The sky at

The Moon will pass last quarter phase, rising in the middle of the night and appearing prominent in the pre-dawn sky.

From Fairfield, it will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 02:06 (EDT) and reaching an altitude of 29° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:20.

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At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, it appears almost exactly half illuminated.

The Moon orbits the Earth once every four weeks, causing its phases to cycle through new moon, first quarter, full moon, last quarter, and back to new moon once every 29.5 days.

As it progresses through this cycle, it is visible at different times of day. At last quarter, it rises in the middle of the night and appears high in the sky by dawn. It sets at around lunchtime. More information about the Moon's phases is available here.

Observing the Moon at last quarter

Over coming days, the Moon will rise later each day, so that it is visible for less time before sunrise and rises less far above the eastern horizon before dawn. By the time it reaches new moon, it will rise at around dawn and set at around dusk, making it visible only during the daytime.

Its daily progress is charted below, with all times are given in Fairfield local time.

Date Sun
rises at
Moon
rises at
Altitude of Moon
at sunrise
Direction of Moon
at sunrise
26 Mar 201606:4321:2217°south-west
27 Mar 201606:4322:1521°south-west
28 Mar 201606:4223:1225°south-west
29 Mar 201606:4100:0628°south
30 Mar 201606:4000:5830°south
31 Mar 201606:3601:5130°south
01 Apr 201606:3502:3929°south
02 Apr 201606:3403:2426°south-east
03 Apr 201606:3404:0623°south-east
04 Apr 201606:2904:4717°south-east
05 Apr 201606:2805:2411°east
06 Apr 201606:2706:04east

The exact moment of last quarter

The exact moment of last quarter is defined as the time when the Moon's ecliptic longitude is exactly 90° away from the Sun's ecliptic longitude, as observed from the center of the Earth. However, the Moon does not appear in any way special at this instant in time, and a last quarter moon can be observed at any time in the pre-dawn sky.

At the moment it reaches last quarter, the Moon's distance from the Earth will be 389,000 km. Its celestial coordinates will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
The Moon 18h46m30s 18°01'S Sagittarius 30'39"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 31 March 2016
Sunrise
06:36
Sunset
19:20
Twilight ends
20:52
Twilight begins
05:04

22-day old moon
Waning Crescent

44%

22 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:59 13:28 19:58
Venus 06:05 11:55 17:44
Moon 01:51 06:56 11:59
Mars 23:54 04:41 09:27
Jupiter 16:53 23:21 05:50
Saturn 00:34 05:19 10:04
All times shown in EDT.

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.

Related news

31 Mar 2016  –  Moon at Last Quarter
07 Apr 2016  –  New Moon
13 Apr 2016  –  Moon at First Quarter
22 Apr 2016  –  Full Moon

Image credit

Simulated image courtesy of Tom Ruen.

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73.26°W
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