08/18/2016 – Ephemeris – Viewing the full Moon tonight
Ephemeris for Thursday, August 18th. The Sun rises at 6:49. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 53 minutes, setting at 8:42. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 8:54 this evening.
The full moon, contrary to what you’d think is a poor time to observe it. The moon is essentially gray on gray. And at full moon we are looking at the moon from about the same perspective as the sun, so there are no shadows to delineate its fine features. Since the actual instant of full moon occurred at 5:27 this morning, some shadows will be creeping in on the moon’s upper right face as it is seen in the evening. Full moon is the best time to see the maria or lunar seas, the dark areas that make up the man in the moon. In binoculars can be seen the bright rays* emanating from the crater Tycho near the south end of the moon. Other craters have rays too, but none so long and distinctive. Night by night for the next two weeks the moon’s illuminated landscape will wane.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.
* Rays are caused by the ejecta from the impact that created the crater. They are thought to be small craters themselves which show up best at full moon because they have no shadows in them.