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05/24/2012 – Ephemeris – Phases and shadows on the moon

May 24, 2012 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 24th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 8 minutes, setting at 9:13.   The moon, half way from new to first quarter, will set at 12:11 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 6:04.

The fat crescent moon tonight is like the crescent Venus, with the sun shining on mostly the far side.  I notice that some folks think that the earth is casting its shadow on the moon to cause the crescent.  That isn’t correct.  The earth does cast its shadow on the moon sometimes, but only at full moon, but only about one in 6 full moons, and we usually don’t see many of these.  The phases of the moon are simply the light and shadow of a ball in the sunlight.  In fact, if before sunset you can see the moon, and you are in sunlight also.  Hold the ball up next to the moon.  You will see that the ball will have the same phase as the moon.  This is because the moon is close to the earth.