When we see half moon, why is it always the lower half?

  • Even if we see a crescent moon, always the lower circumference is visible. Why we never see this? enter image description here



    PS: this image is vertically inverted.


    The moon has no "lower" or "upper" half. Up and down are local coordinates and point in different directions for people at different places on Earth.

    Can you suggest a better wording?

  • TildalWave

    TildalWave Correct answer

    8 years ago

    Actually, you sometimes can see the Moon illuminated by the Sun from the top, and therein lies the answer to your question - during day. When looking at the Moon during night time, the side of the Earth where you're standing and looking at it is pointed away from the Sun, while this is reversed during the day. The illuminated side of the Moon is also facing the Sun, of course. So we have:




    • Night time on Earth: Side illuminated by the Sun is "below us" and that's where the Moon is illuminated from too.

    • Day time on Earth: Side illuminated by the Sun is "above us" and that's where the Moon is illuminated from too:


      enter image description here

      Blue Moon in the daytime sky (Photograph source: LPOD)



    So, the direction from which the Moon is illuminated from is the same as the direction the Earth is, both illuminated by the same celestial body - our Sun. So, when you see the Sun high above the skies, and if the Moon is visible during daytime, it's going to be illuminated from the same direction from which you are, and during night time, when you'd expect the Sun "below where you're standing", it's illuminated from that direction.


    You're awesome!

    I removed some distracting comments. @Envite if you still believe that the correct answer is not represented or misrepresented feel free to post your own answer.

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

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