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 17:45 (EDT), 71° above your southern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 17:45, 71° above your southern horizon. It will continue to be observable until around 00:24, when it sinks below 7° above your north-western horizon.

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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 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
11 Feb 202417:2119:4523°south-west
12 Feb 202417:2121:0136°south-west
13 Feb 202417:2522:1548°south-west
14 Feb 202417:2523:3159°south-west
15 Feb 202417:2900:4768°south
16 Feb 202417:2901:5771°south-east
17 Feb 202417:2803:0467°south-east
18 Feb 202417:3204:0659°east
19 Feb 202417:3204:5549°east
20 Feb 202417:3205:3539°east
21 Feb 202417:3506:0829°east
22 Feb 202417:3506:3518°east

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 380,000 km. Its celestial coordinates will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
The Moon 03h35m50s 22°45'N Taurus 31'22"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 16 February 2024
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

7-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


7 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:36 11:36 16:36
Venus 05:29 10:17 15:05
Moon 10:21 18:03 01:57
Mars 05:41 10:28 15:15
Jupiter 09:44 16:36 23:28
Saturn 07:24 12:51 18:19
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

16 Feb 2024  –  Moon at First Quarter
24 Feb 2024  –  Full Moon
03 Mar 2024  –  Moon at Last Quarter
10 Mar 2024  –  New Moon

Image credit

Simulated image courtesy of Tom Ruen.






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