What Time Does the Moon Set and Rise?

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What Time Does the Moon Set and Rise?

Have you ever gazed up at the night sky and wondered about the mysteries of the moon? As one of the most prominent celestial objects visible from Earth, the moon has captivated humans for centuries. Among the many questions people have about our lunar neighbor, one that frequently arises is: what time does the moon set and rise? In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating phenomenon of lunar rising and setting, the factors that influence these events, and how you can find out the exact timings to witness this celestial spectacle.

Understanding Lunar Rising and Setting

Before we delve into the details of lunar rising and setting, let’s first clarify what these terms actually mean. When we talk about the moon “rising,” we are referring to its emergence above the Earth’s horizon. Conversely, when the moon “sets,” it disappears below the horizon, no longer visible to observers on the planet’s surface.

The moon’s rise and set times are affected by several astronomical factors, including the observer’s geographical location, the moon’s orbit, and the Earth’s rotation. To determine the precise timings, astronomers use scientific algorithms and data to calculate the moon’s position relative to different locations on Earth.

Geographical Location and Moon Phases

The time at which the moon rises and sets can vary depending on where you are on Earth. Since the Earth is a rotating sphere, different locations experience a time lag due to the curvature of the planet. Generally, locations towards the east will witness the moon rising earlier, while those towards the west may observe the moon setting earlier.

In addition to geographical location, the moon’s phases also play a significant role in its rising and setting times. The moon follows a predictable cycle of phases, transitioning from new moon to full moon and back again. During different phases, the moon rises at varying times, ranging from morning to evening. For example, during a full moon, the moon rises around sunset and sets around sunrise, making it visible throughout the night.

Moon Phase Rising Time Setting Time
New Moon Approximately sunrise Approximately sunset
First Quarter Around noon Around midnight
Full Moon Approximately sunset Approximately sunrise
Last Quarter Around midnight Around noon

Table 1: Approximate moon rising and setting times for different moon phases.

It’s important to note that the above table provides approximate timings and can vary based on your specific location and the time of year. To find the precise moonrise and moonset times for your area, it’s recommended to use online tools or smartphone applications that utilize accurate astronomical calculations.

Factors Affecting Moonrise and Moonset

As mentioned earlier, the moon’s rise and set times are influenced by various factors. One of the primary factors is the location of the observer. For example, individuals near the equator may experience a shorter time interval between sunrise and moonrise, while those closer to the poles may witness extended periods of moonrise due to the Earth’s tilt.

The moon’s orbit around the Earth also affects its rising and setting times. The moon follows an elliptical path, meaning its distance from Earth varies throughout the month. When the moon is at its closest point to Earth (known as perigee), it appears larger and experiences faster apparent motion across the sky. Conversely, during its farthest point (known as apogee), the moon appears smaller and moves more slowly.

Another critical factor is the Earth’s rotation. The planet completes one full rotation in approximately 24 hours, causing the apparent motion of the celestial bodies across the sky. As the Earth spins, the moon seems to rise from the east and set in the west, following the same trajectory as the sun.

Exploring Moonrise and Moonset

If you’re keen to witness the mesmerizing moments of moonrise or capture stunning moonset photographs, there are a few tips that can help enhance your experience:

  • Research the moonrise and moonset timings for your location using reliable sources or smartphone applications dedicated to astronomy.
  • Pick a clear night with minimal cloud cover to maximize visibility.
  • Observe moonrise from an unobstructed area with a clear view of the eastern horizon.
  • Experiment with different camera settings to capture the moon’s beauty, such as adjusting exposure and playing with long exposure shots.
  • Consider using a tripod to stabilize your camera and avoid blurry images.
  • Pay attention to other interesting elements, like foreground objects or nearby celestial events, to add depth and context to your photographs.

By following these tips and armed with precise moonrise and moonset timings, you’ll be well-prepared to witness and immortalize the moon’s majestic journey across the sky.

Finding Accurate Moonrise and Moonset Timings

To find the most up-to-date and accurate moonrise and moonset timings for your location, several online resources and smartphone applications can be invaluable. One highly recommended website is Time and Date. This platform provides comprehensive information about the moon’s phases, rise and set timings, and even offers customizable search options based on your geographic coordinates.

Another excellent resource is smartphone applications specifically designed for stargazers and astrophotographers. Apps like “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” or “SkySafari” offer detailed astronomical data, including moonrise and moonset times, moon phase calendars, and visualization tools to plan your lunar observations.

Remember, accurate timing is essential for capturing those awe-inspiring moments of lunar ascension and descent, so it’s worth relying on reputable sources for the most precise information.


The moon, with its enchanting presence and celestial dance, is a source of wonder for many. Understanding the timings of moonrise and moonset allows us to appreciate the moon’s different phases and plan our observations accordingly. Factors such as geographical location, moon phases, and the Earth’s rotation all play a role in determining these timings. By harnessing the power of accurate astronomical data and utilizing online resources or smartphone applications, we can embark on captivating journeys through the night sky and witness the moon’s rise and set in all its glory.

So, the next time you find yourself pondering the question, “What time does the moon set and rise?” you’ll be armed with the knowledge to explore and marvel at this celestial phenomenon.

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What Time Does the Moon Set and Rise?