Predicting When The Moon Will Rise and Set

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  • 0:02 Moonrise & Moonset
  • 0:47 The New & Full Moon
  • 1:38 The Quarter Moons
  • 2:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

In this lesson, you'll learn when the moon will rise or set during four distinct phases: full moon, new moon, first quarter moon, and third quarter moon.

Moonrise and Moonset

On my smartphone is a weather app. I'm willing to bet you have one, too. Mine wrongly predicts the weather a very good chunk of the time. Seriously, several times this year it told me it was sunny in my location when it was clearly raining outside with no sun in sight.

But one thing that it seems to get right, just about every time, is when sunrise and sunset will occur. And while it does that, it never tells me when moonrise, the time the moon rises above the horizon, and moonset, the time the moon sets below the horizon, will occur!

That's OK. This lesson will tell you how you don't even need an app for that. We'll use four major phases of the moon to figure out when the moon will rise and when it will set.

The New and Full Moon

The phase of the moon where it is barely or not visible at all is known as the new moon. During the new moon, the moon is nearest to the sun. Because it's nearest to the sun, it will be very easy for you to remember when the moon will rise and when it will set.

Ready? During the new moon, the moon will rise around sunrise and set around sunset. That wasn't too hard, was it? A new day begins at sunrise and a new moon does, too.

In direct opposition to the new moon occurs the full moon, the phase of the moon where the moon is entirely visible. The moonrise of this one is also really easy to predict! Since it's opposite of the new moon, the full moon will rise around sunset and set at sunrise!

The Quarter Moons

OK, those two were easy. Now we get to ones that are only a tiny bit harder, I promise. They are the first quarter moon, the quarter moon that occurs after the new moon, and the third quarter moon, the quarter moon that occurs after the full moon.

The first quarter moon is shown on your screen. I know most people don't like math, but bear with me here.

There are 24 hours in a day. If you take one quarter of this, what do you get? Six. Thus, the first quarter moon will rise and set six hours after the sun does. Therefore, the moonrise will occur around noon, and moonset will occur around midnight.

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