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Moon Phase Calculator

Month and year:

Note: This tool displays the approximate Moon phases. For official phase times and dates for this month, check our Stargazing page. Moon rise/set times are available from the U.S. Naval Observatory.

 

Why does the Moon have phases?

At the new Moon phase, the Moon is so close to the Sun in the sky that none of the side facing Earth is illuminated (position 1 in illustration). In other words, the Moon is between Earth and Sun. At first quarter, the half-lit Moon is highest in the sky at sunset, then sets about six hours later (3). At full Moon, the Moon is behind Earth in space with respect to the Sun. As the Sun sets, the Moon rises with the side that faces Earth fully exposed to sunlight (5).At the new Moon phase, the Moon is so close to the Sun in the sky that none of the side facing Earth is illuminated (position 1 in illustration). In other words, the Moon is between Earth and Sun. At first quarter, the half-lit Moon is highest in the sky at sunset, then sets about six hours later (3). At full Moon, the Moon is behind Earth in space with respect to the Sun. As the Sun sets, the Moon rises with the side that faces Earth fully exposed to sunlight (5).The Moon has phases because it orbits Earth, which causes the portion we see illuminated to change. The Moon takes 27.3 day