Q:

What are moonrise and moonset tables?

A:

Quick Answer

Moonrise and moonset tables display the time of day that the moon rises above the horizon and sets below the horizon relative to a particular location over a range of dates. Some cells on a moonrise and moonset table are blank because the moon does not always rise or set on a given date. Some tables display additional data, such as the moon's phase, illumination and distance from Earth on each date listed.

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Full Answer

TimeAndDate.com features a moonrise and moonset table that provides an example including such additional data. To display it, hover the mouse over the Sun and Moon tab near the top of the main page, and then click the Moon Calculator link on the drop-down menu. Use the search tool near the top-right of the page to choose a location and display a moonrise and moonset calendar for the chosen location.

A range of dates displays vertically in ascending order down the left side of the table, with the moonrise and moonset dates displayed for each date. The arrows and angles on the table indicate the azimuths for the sunrise and sunset for a given date. For example, an arrow next to the moonset time that points toward the upper-left indicates the moon is heading northwest at moonset time and that it sets at a compass point of 265 degrees clockwise from true north.

Times listed for moonrises indicate when the upper part of the moon becomes visible; times listed for moonsets indicate when the last part of the moon sinks below the horizon. These times assume ideal circumstances, with the observer at the same altitude as the horizon during clear weather and without obstructions. Even under ideal conditions, the moonrise or moonset may not be visible if the a new moon phase is near.

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