It's midnight and I've just looked up my garden. The moon is directly ahead (east) and really big and low on the horizon, yet yesterday when I looked out before midnight it was about 45° higher up (I remember seeing it through the trees) and about 30° further south east.
I thought the moon rose? How can it now be that low? I'm sure there's an obvious explanation...
Moonrise continually changes and can be at any time of day. If you look at this calculator for your own town, you'll see that moon rise gets 30 to 50 minutes later each day and occurs just as often in the day as it does at night. The reason we think of the moon rising at night is because we normally only see it at night. On a clear day, the moon can sometimes be seen high in the sky in the late morning or early afternoon but it's pale and not very noticeable because of the accompanying sunshine.
Why so much daily variation? Surely the moon's orbit is constant, isn't it? I can understand it changing with the seasons, but why it's all over the place from night to night is what I can't fathom.
The orbit is fixed ... but the fact that it orbits the earth is the reason why it moves from night to night!
It (and the sun) only seem to move during the day because the earth rotates about its own axis once a day (and that's the definition of "day").
On top of that, the moon orbits around the earth once a month which means it's not always in the same position in the sky relative to the sun.
If the earth didn't rotate (which is quite possible but would be catastrophic for conditions on the surface ), you'd see the sun in the exact same place in the sky all the time, and you'd see the moon moving slowly across the sky making a complete circuit about every 29 days, so moving about 12 degrees every 24 hours.
Makes sense... and I must admit feeling rather ridiculous about this. I just never consciously noticed what a difference there was in position from one night to the next. I guess I thought it was more gradual. D'oh!
I went outside to put my bin out one night and looked up and saw what appeared to be the moon streaking across the sky in an alarming manner. I was so perturbed I nearly banged on a neighbour's door and asked them to look but instead I messaged my then boyfriend (Ian) and told him. He pointed out that it was the clouds that were moving rapidly .. not the moon
I heard a bird cry, sharp and free. My name is Jordan.
Sometimes, when a solar eclipse occurs at sunrise, it's obvious that the moon and sun rise together - or set together if the eclipse is at sunset.
The moon very often rises or sets right next to the sun (about once a month of course) but we don't see it as we're looking at the unlit face of the moon which is very dark plus it's very close in the sky to a dazzling sun! Under ideal conditions when the new moon is just above the horizon and the sun is just below, this dark moon can be seen - it is lit by 'earthlight' - the light reflected from the earth.