Moon's Position Over Earth
(to update, reload page)
Courtesy: Fourmilab Switzerland

Today's  Moonrise & Moonset
at Your Location

Unlike Earth, the Moon is a barren, lifeless world with no liquid water and barely an atmosphere!  (1.6.x)   (1.4.1)

Essentially, the same side of the Moon always faces us!  View from Earth:  (1.6.x)   (1.4.1)

Because the Moon is nearer than any other major celestial body, it can produce dramatic "shadow events" like this!  (1.6.x)   (1.4.1)

The term "month" comes from the word "moon", as our Moon orbits Earth about once each month!    (1.6.x)

Right Drag with your mouse after you run the link above that displays the Moon's orbit to get a good sense of its 3-dimensional aspects.

Are you unfamiliar with our 1.6.x and 1.4.1 links?  For an explanation  click here.

WHAT CAUSES MOON PHASES

Here's a nicely done Flash interactive that lets you study many aspects of the  Phases of the Moon.

MOON SURFACE VIEWS

These US Geological Survey panoramas were made from photos taken by astronauts of the Apollo missions.  Note the differences in the terrain from landing site to landing site.  From Apollo 15 onward the Lunar Rover or "moon buggy" permitted astronauts to explore the lunar surface up to 35 km from the LEM.

APOLLO 11

APOLLO 12

APOLLO 14: (Stations)
B-1  C-Prime  F  G  H

APOLLO 15: (Stations)
2  7a  7b  9a  VIP
Lander-north  ALSEP  Stand-up EVA 

APOLLO 16: (Stations)
1  2  4a  4b  5a 5b
EVA 2  11  13  ALSEP
Lander  Landing Site 

APOLLO 17: (Stations)
1  2  2 Looking NE
2 Ballet Crater  4a  4b
5  6  7  8a  8b

And from NASA, here is a cool interactive  Apollo 11 Landing Site  with several panoramas and the ability to go inside the LEM (Lunar Excurion Module)!

And for an intriguing view of a future Moon habitat, take a look at NASA's interactive  Lunar Outpost!

For a look at what may be NASA's next generation of rovers on the Moon, check out:  Lunar Electric Rover!

MOON TRAVERSE MAPS

These US Geological Survey maps show the routes taken by the Apollo astronauts as they explored the surface of the Moon.  The Lunar Rover, used from Apollo 15 onward, vastly extended the range of the astronauts, so the scale varies from map to map.

APOLLO 11   APOLLO 12
APOLLO 14   APOLLO 15

Here's a cool NASA graphic that compares the  Distance Traveled by Moon and Mars Rovers.

MOON ACTIVITIES

MAKE A PAPER MODEL OF THE MOON!

CANON has a cool website that offers free downloads, including one that lets you make a cool  3D paper model of the Moon.


VERIFY THE
MOON'S PHASE

This is an easy activity you and your friends can do with the naked eye.  For several evenings, go out and look at the Moon and compare its phase to the ones you see in the list to the right.


MAP THE MOON
BY EYE

Here's another easy activity.  Take a pencil and paper out with you when the Moon is nearly Full, and sketch how it appears.  Do it again a month later and compare your drawings.  Were you able to draw a pretty good likeness of the Moon's dark areas, the maria (seas)?

Remember: this is the only way that astronomers could observe sky objects until the invention of the telescope in the early 1600's!


MAP THE MOON
WITH BINOCULARS

Now try mapping the Moon again, this time with a pair of binoculars.  Even a cheap pair will reveal much more detail.  Compare your new maps with those you made viewing the Moon by eye.


VERIFY HOW THE MOON'S RISE & SET TIMES ARE RELATED TO ITS PHASES

To the immediate right in the center column of this page, you'll see a list of the times of day when New, 1st Qtr, Full and Last Qtr Moons rise and set.  From the Moon Phase Calendar above the list, find when the Moon will exhibit each of these phases in the coming month.  Then, on the day of each, confirm that the Moon does indeed rise and set when it should for each phase.

CELES-TIPS

The following will help you enjoy this page's 1.6.x and 1.4.1 links that run events directly in CELESTIA.  If you're new to the program, these tips will also help you learn to use it.

  • If CELESTIA's clock (i.e. the program's date and time) is not visible at the top-right of its window, press the V key until you see it.  This will also turn on information text in other corners to help you keep track of several aspects of the event you're viewing.  Keeping an eye on CELESTIA's clock at the top-right will help you appreciate how much time is passing in each view.
  • Pressing the "un-shifted" L key and K key respectively will speed up and slow down CELESTIA's flow of time by a factor of 10 in version 1.6.x and 1.4.1.
  • Pressing Shift+L and Shift+K respectively will speed up and slow down CELESTIA's flow of time by a factor of 2 in version 1.6.x only.
  • Pressing the J key (either shifted or "un-shifted") will reverse CELESTIA's flow of time in version 1.6.x and 1.4.1.

You'll find more information about many of CELESTIA's controls on our  Learning Center  page.


THE MOON

Current Distance, Apparent Size and Phase from Earth
Current Location in its Phase Cycle

Equatorial Radius:    1,738.1 km
Equatorial Radius (Earth = 1):    0.2725
      View  How Big Is Our Moon?  video.
      Compare to Other Moons

Rotational Flattening:    0.0012
Mass (Earth = 1):    0.0123
Volume (Earth = 1):    0.0203
Mean Density (Water = 1):    3.34
Mean Density (Earth = 1):    0.607
Surface Gravity (Earth = 1):    0.165
Inclination of Axis to Orbit:    6.68°
Rotation and Revolution Period: (tidally "locked")
      Synodic (in Earth days):    29.53 (1 cycle of Phases)
      Sidereal (in Earth days):    27.3217
Albedo (geometric):    0.12
Magnetic Field (Earth = 1):    extremely weak

View Moon in 3-D:  a terrific 3-D animation from Robert Vanderbei's great site.  Drag Moon to see the poles; but if you do, view always rotates left to right, not around Moon's axis.  (Requires  WebGL  browser)

Internal Structure:
      NASA Graphic 

Orbit:  (1.6.x)   (1.4.1)
      View Earth-Moon Barycenter video
      View Moon's Orbital Position & Phase video
      Period (sidereal):    27.3217 days (655.728 hours)
      Distance from Earth:
            Mean:    30.13 Earth diameters
            Mean:    384,400 km
            Perigee:
                  Mean:    363,300 km
                  Min:    356,400 km
            Apogee:
                  Mean:    405,500 km
                  Max:    406,700 km

 MOON'S SIZE VARIATION SEEN FROM EARTH
A "supermoon" occurs when the Moon is full
and in the closest 10% of its distance range.

      Velocity:
            Mean:    3,683 km/hr
            Min:    3,874 km/hr
            Max:    3,470 km/hr
      Eccentricity:    0.0549
      Inclination to Ecliptic:    5.145°

      Spin-Orbit Resonance:     Yes, 1 to 1
            (so the same side of Moon always faces Earth)

SCROLL IMAGE BELOW FOR ANOTHER VIEW OF
THE MOON'S DISTANCE IN EARTH DIAMETERS

View of Moon (from Sun's direction in CELESTIA):
      With Location Labels ON:  (1.6.x)   (1.4.1)
      With Location Labels OFF:  (1.6.x)   (1.4.1)

*Earth mean solar day = 24.0000 hours (24h00m00s)
  Earth sidereal day = 23.9345 hr (23h56m4.1s)

Partial Information Source: NASA Fact Sheets


ADJECTIVES MEANING
"pertaining to the Moon"

      lunar (from Latin: Luna)
      selenian (from Greek goddess, Selene)


View the Moon's Features  that are visible from Earth with binoculars or a low-power telescope.

To help you with you lunar observations, download these classic maps of the Moon:

USAF Lunar Earthside Hemisphere Map:
Download (hi-res JP2)    View Now (smaller version)

NASA Apollo-Era Lunar Chart:
Download (hi-res JP2)    View Now (smaller version)


MOON PHASES 2017
video credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Moon Phases:               Today's
      Calendars:    This Month's   This Year's
      List:   This Year's

Here is a great  Calendar of 2017's Moon Phases & Events  courtesy of  Newcastle Observatory.
Newcastle's Previous Moon Phase Calendars: 
2016    2015    2014    2013    2012    2011    2010    2009    2008   

Old Format Previous Months' Phase Calendars:
2014:  Jan      2013:  Dec    Nov    Oct    Sep    Aug    Jul    Jun    May    Apr    Mar    Feb   

NOTE:

  1.   New Moons essentially rise and set with the Sun and reflect no sunlight toward Earth, so they allow Deep Sky Observing all night.
  2.   1st Qtr Moons generally rise near "local noon" and set near "local midnight", allowing Deep Sky Observing only during the last half of the night.
  3.   Full Moons generally rise near sunset and set near sunrise, allowing no Deep Sky Observing all night.
  4.   Last Qtr Moons generally rise near "local midnight" and set near "local noon", allowing Deep Sky Observing only during the first half of the night.


ECLIPSES OF 2017 (enter year)

2017's Eclipse "Seasons":
        early thru late Feb; early thru late Aug

FUTURE SOLAR ECLIPSE
QUICK REFERENCE MAPS

2001-2020      2021-2040      2041-2060


SAME SIDE OF THE MOON
ALWAYS FACES EARTH

TOUR OF THE MOON
video credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

EVOLUTION OF THE MOON
video credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

LUNAR CRATERS
video credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

MORE MOON VIDEOS

LRO Takes the Moon's Temperature

Mare Orientale Flyover

Parting Moon Shots from NASA's GRAIL Mission

DIRECT LINKS TO OTHER NASA VIDEOS

You must have the noted player installed to view these.  Note: you might have to click on these more than once, as some NASA servers (like http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov in particular) can be temperamental and slow to connect.  If a video does not load, try again at another time.

Lunar Clementine Moon Spin.  (QuickTime)  Video Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Clementine Lunar South Pole.  (QuickTime)  Video Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Lunar Prospector Hydrogen Concentration - South Pole.  (QuickTime)  Video Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Apollo Mission Lunar Surface Footage.  (QuickTime)  Video Credit: NASA/Johnson Space Center


DIRECT LINKS TO MEDIA
OFFERED ON OTHER SITES

We Choose the Moon  is an educational experience par excellence!  Even for those of us who did witness the real Apollo 11 mission, when men first walked on the Moon, this is an awesome, illuminating recreation!

APOLLO Missions:  high resolution posters

     ONE SMALL STEP: Apollo 11
     APOLLO Manned Lunar Landing Mission Profile
     DESTINATION MOON

Here's a link to a nice NASA page:  Timeline of Lunar Exploration Missions.  Lots of good background info here!

Here's a link to a nice  Lunar Panorama from Apollo 17  in color.  Yes, that's a barren-looking place!  Can you find the Rover?


THE MOON'S MOTION IN OUR SKY

Like the Sun, every day the Moon generally rises in the east, moves westward across the sky, then sets in the west.  Also like the Sun, the Moon has an "apparent" motion independent of the daily-rotating background of fixed stars.  This independent motion was much more obvious to the ancients than the Sun's motion, because the Moon moves through the background stars much faster—on average about 13⅓ times faster than the Sun!  Always staying within the band of the Zodiac, the Moon moves generally eastward through the background stars, each hour moving a distance roughly equal to its own diameter.  On average, this motion makes the Moon visible in the sky for about 12½ hours each day, not 12, because the Earth has to rotate a little further to "catch up" with the moving Moon!  On average the Moon also therefore rises and sets about 50 minutes later each day, completing one circuit of the heavens in about 27⅓ days relative to the stars and in about 29½ days relative to the Sun.  These two periods are known respectively as a sidereal month and a synodic month, and they are only averages due to the Moon's quite-irregular orbit.

The video below shows the Moon's motion in 2014.



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"Our Moon is the greatest influence on Earth's tides."

Earth's & our Moon's motion around their barycenter helps produce Earth's tides.


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CURRENT MOON PHASE
Courtesy: USNO


   
   
   
(India)   

SKY VIEWING
SOLAR SYSTEM
THE SUN
MERCURY
VENUS
EARTH
THE MOON
MARS
JUPITER
SATURN
URANUS
NEPTUNE
SMALLER WORLDS
STELLAR OBJECTS
EXOPLANETS
DEEP-SKY OBJECTS
SCALE OF THE COSMOS
———————
SKY-FUN / SKY-GAMES


UPCOMING:

Eclipses:

     NASA:

          Solar:  2017 Feb 26
                GIF Map only
                Animation only
          Lunar:  2017 Aug 7
          5 Millenia:  Solar  Lunar

     HMNAO:

          Solar:  2017 Feb 26
          Lunar:  2017 Aug 7
          600 Years of Eclipses

Lunar Occultations

SNEAK PREVIEW!

Best Eclipse in US History 21 August 2017  
Much more on  News Page


MOON FUN FACTS

The Moon's phase (seen from Earth) is shown above.  Our Earth's phase (seen from the Moon) is shown at left as the Moon's Position Over Earth.  Size-wise, these two phases are always complements of each other! 

Most people can run faster than the Moon rotates!

Essentially the same side of the Moon always faces us here on Earth because, over eons, gravitational forces have the synchronized the Moon's spin and orbit!

The "dark side of the Moon" is an often mis-used term, because the Moon's dark side is constantly changing due to the lunar rotation.  So often the "dark side of the Moon" (or part of it) actually faces Earth!  Many times people incorrectly use the term the "dark side of the Moon" when they actually mean the "far side of the Moon."

On average, the Moon's albedo or "reflectivity" is about the same as that of a well-worn asphalt road.

The lunar core is believed to be quite small and not quite at the center of the Moon!

MOON INTERACTIVES

QUICK ACCESS LIST

Note: some links are echoed elsewhere on this page and may include descriptive text.

View Moon in 3-D  (Requires browser supporting  WebGL)

Links to interactive features that show the Moon's orbit in 3-D can be found on our  Solar System page

We Choose the Moon  is an educational experience par excellence!  Even if you did witness the real Apollo 11 mission, you'll find this an awesome recreation!

NASA/JPL's  Apollo Moon Landings: from the Lab to the Moon

SunAeon's  Sun Moon Scope  (Requires  WebGL  browser)

Here's a nicely done Flash interactive that lets you study many aspects of the  Phases of the Moon.

From the USGS, here is the superb  Lunar Web Mapping Application!

Google Moon!

From NASA, here's another excellent way to study the Moon's surface, the  Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera!

From NOAA, here are pages showing  What Are Tides,  the Frequency of Tides, and the Types of Tides.

And don't forget to look over directly to the left column for a few more cool interactives!

MOON MISC.

LUNAR APOGEES & PERIGEES

Lunar apogees & perigees show just how irregular the lunar orbit is.  From 1500 to 2500 CE, the Moon's apogee averages about 405,400 km, varying from about 404,050 km to its extreme maximum of about 406,720 km. The lunar perigee is much more variable however, averaging close to 363,400 km while varying from about 370,350 km to its extreme minimum of about 356,370 km!

Extreme lunar apogees and perigees are caused mostly by the Sun's gravitational pull on the Moon, and they tend to happen in the winter months of the Northern Hemisphere.  This is when Earth is near perihelion, i.e. closest (yes, closest!) to the Sun.  Extreme apogees tend to happen when the Moon is New, since the Sun pulls it "away from" Earth.  Extreme perigees in contrast tend to occur when the Moon is Full, as the Sun pulls it "toward" Earth.  Forecasting these extremes can be important due to the Moon's influence on Earth's tides.


SKYMARVELS™
ADD-ONS FOR CELESTIA FEATURING THE MOON

Solar
Eclipse Finder

Lunar
Eclipse Finder


SKYMARVELS™
POSTERS FEATURING THE MOON

Earth's Tides

Our Corner of the Cosmos


SKYMARVELS™
VIDEOS FEATURING THE MOON

Perseid Meteor Shower 2010

Geminid Meteor Shower 2010

Geminid Meteor Shower 2012

Perseid Meteor Shower 2013

 

The Speed of Light

Stunning Fields of View 001

Stunning Fields of View 002

Have You Ever . . . ?

"celestia4all" Site Preview


Solar Eclipses:

   Solar Eclipses thru 2012

   Solar Eclipse 2010 Jul 11

   Solar Eclipse 2012 Nov 13

   Solar Eclipse 2013 Nov 3


Lunar Eclipses:

   Lunar Eclipses thru 2012

   Lunar Eclipse 2010 Jun 26

   Lunar Eclipse 2010 Dec 21

   Lunar Eclipse 2011 Jun 15

 

Moon's Occultation of Venus 2010 May 16

Moon's Occultation of Venus 2010 Sep 11

 

Moon 2013

How Big Is Our Moon?

The Same Side of the Moon Always Faces Earth

The Earth-Moon Barycenter

Phases of the Moon

Moon Phases Calendar