Simulated image courtesy of Tom Ruen.

Moon at First Quarter

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Moon feed

Objects: The Moon
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The Moon will pass first quarter phase, appearing prominent in the evening sky and setting in the middle of the night.

From Fairfield , it will become visible around 17:02 (EDT), 33° above your southern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 17:53, 34° above your southern horizon. It will continue to be observable until around 22:16, when it sinks below 8° above your south-western horizon.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

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 first quarter, it appears high in the sky at sunset before sinking towards the horizon and setting in the middle of the night. More information about the Moon's phases is available here.

Observing the Moon at first quarter

Over coming days, the Moon will set later each day, becoming visible for more of the night. Within a few days, it will not make it very far above the eastern horizon before nightfall. By the time it reaches full phase, it will be visible for much of the night, rising at around dusk and setting at around dawn.

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

Date Sun
sets at
sets at
Altitude of Moon
at sunset
Direction of Moon
at sunset
02 Nov 201617:5020:0319°south-west
03 Nov 201617:4620:4624°south-west
04 Nov 201617:4621:3527°south
05 Nov 201617:4622:2930°south
06 Nov 201616:4522:2532°south
07 Nov 201616:4223:2532°south
08 Nov 201616:4200:3030°south-east
09 Nov 201616:4201:3427°south-east
10 Nov 201616:4202:4523°south-east
11 Nov 201616:3803:5717°east
12 Nov 201616:3805:1010°east
13 Nov 201616:3806:25east

The exact moment of first quarter

The exact moment of first 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 first quarter moon can be observed at any time in the evening sky.

At the moment it reaches first quarter, the Moon's distance from the Earth will be 386,000 km. Its celestial coordinates will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
The Moon 21h09m40s 14°08'S Aquarius 30'54"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 07 November 2016
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

8-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


8 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:09 12:02 16:55
Venus 09:54 14:20 18:46
Moon 12:40 18:02 23:25
Mars 12:11 16:51 21:31
Jupiter 03:42 09:32 15:21
Saturn 08:55 13:39 18:24
All times shown in EST.


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

07 Nov 2016  –  Moon at First Quarter
14 Nov 2016  –  Full Moon
21 Nov 2016  –  Moon at Last Quarter
29 Nov 2016  –  New Moon

Image credit

Simulated image courtesy of Tom Ruen.






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