Astronomy/Lunar Sightings



I live in New Zealand. Manukau to be precise. It is now 10.15 am, I can see the sun to my right and a crescent moon to my left. Is this normal?
I would have expected to the moon to be showing in England (or that part of the world) as it is approx 10.15pm there. I have not seen this before. Are you able to answer this please. Thanks Brett

Yes, it is normal. The only difference in England would be that the directions are reversed. You have to look (more or less) northward to see the Sun and Moon, so the rising Sun (toward the East) is on your right, and the setting Moon (toward the West) is on your left. In England you would have to look (more or less) southward to see them, and since that is the opposite direction, the Sun would be on your left and the Moon on your right.

I expect that the problem is that you weren't aware that you can see a waning crescent Moon during the day; but the Moon is actually visible during some part of the day most of the time. It is only when very near new Moon (when it is too close to the Sun to see at all) or very near full Moon (when it is up almost entirely at night) that the Moon isn't up for a significant part of the day. At its current phase the Moon is about 3 1/2 hours ahead of the Sun, or about 50 degrees (five hand-widths) to its west. Tomorrow it will be about 12 degrees closer to the Sun, but should still be visible to the west of the Sun. The day after it will be still closer, and since it will be thinner and fainter and the part of the sky it is in will be brighter (being nearer the Sun), it might not be visible during the day. But by next week it will be a reasonably fat waxing crescent, and visible to the east (or for you, to the right) of the Sun even during the day.


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Courtney Seligman


I can answer almost any question about astronomy and related sciences, such as physics and geology. I will not answer questions about astrology and similar pseudo-scientific rubbish.


I have been a professor of astronomy for over 40 years, and am working on an online text/encyclopedia of astronomy, and an online catalog of NGC/IC objects.

Astronomical Journal, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (too long ago to be really relevant, but you could search for Courtney Seligman on Google Scholar)

I received a BA in astronomy and physics and a MA in astronomy, both from UCLA. I was working on my doctoral dissertation when I started teaching, and discovered that I preferred teaching to research.

Awards and Honors
(too long ago to be relevant, but Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi still keep trying to get me to become a paying member)

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