Archive for December 3, 2019

12/03/2019 – Ephemeris – The Moon tonight

December 3, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 3rd. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 1 minute, setting at 5:03, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:02. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at midnight.

The Moon tonight is a few hours before being at first quarter, when the Moon appears exactly half illuminated. In viewing the Moon with a pair of binoculars or a telescope the observer will notice that the best detail is seen near the terminator, the sunrise line, that’s cutting the Moon in half. That’s where the shadows are longest. The large gray feature at the upper right of the Moon is Mare Serenitatis, which translates to the Sea of Serenity. To me it appears to look like a scallop shell. Serenitatis like most other seas is roughly circular and is actually a crater, the result of an impact of a large asteroid during what is called the late heavy bombardment that happened about 4 billion years ago.

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


Binocular Moon

The moon as will appear tonight at 8 p.m. December 3, 2019 EST. Moon image credit NASA Scientific Visualization Studio.

Images of the moon’s phase for the entire year are available from

Scallop shell

Image of a scallop shell rotated to match the Sea of Serenity. Credit Wikipedia user Kevmin. (Creative Commons)