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07/10/2014 – Ephemeris – Why is the bright Moon so low in summer and so high in winter?

July 10, 2014 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, July 10th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 20 minutes, setting at 9:28.   The moon, 2 days before full, will set at 5:22 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 6:08.

If you watch the moon for the next few nights, you won’t have to strain your neck because the moon at its highest will be less than 30 degrees above the southern horizon for us in northern Michigan.  That’s because the moon closely follows the path of the sun in the sky, called the ecliptic, with a deviation of only 5 degrees maximum.  Tonight it’s a couple of degrees north of the ecliptic.  Tonight it’s located about where the sun was back last November or will be next November.  In winter you’d swear that the full moon at its greatest height was practically overhead.  It’s another effect of the Earth’s axial tilt of 23 ½ degrees.  Our moon is odd in it doesn’t orbit the Earth’s equator like most large moons do for their planets.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

July Full Moon

The full Moon on July, 12, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

December Full Moon

The full Moon on December 6, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

 

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