How to calculate when the moon is highest in the sky to the earthbound observer?

  • Like when is the new moon highest in the sky? Or third quarter? How do I know this for any general moon phase? Thanks.

    Use a planetarium program like stellarium.

    Without technology please.

    Is there a reason why you are asking this question or is it just out of curiosity? Because technology is by far the easiest way of calculating it!

    Although you can compute the Sun's position without too much effort, you really can't do this for the Moon, since it's orbit is fairly complicated. Without technology, your best bet would be to actually watch the Moon itself ;)

  • James K

    James K Correct answer

    6 years ago

    In winter, the full moon is opposite the sun, and as the sun is low, the full moon is high.

    In summer the full moon is low (for the same reasons). The crescent moon is high in summer (and low in winter) but as the crescent moon is near the sun, it is normally not visible during the day.

    During spring and autumn, the sun, and the moon follow roughly equal paths, with no phase of the moon being higher in the sky.

    Third quarter, being at right angles to the sun will be at an intermediate altitude, in both summer and winter.

    For exact calculations either use technology, or a set of astronomical tables and a sharp pencil!

    I read the OP's question as "what time of day is the moon highest" (ie, "moon noon"), but your answer makes more sense.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM

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