Moon set/rise times & locations

Discussion in 'Nature' started by david_a._wong, Jul 12, 2004.

  1. Does anyone know of a resource (website, book, magazine) that would
    list both the times and direction (i.e. N, NW, 99 degrees, 235
    degrees, etc.) of moon rise and moon set?

    I'm not even sure this exists. But if it does, please let me know.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Go to and enter the search keywords "moonrise" and "ephemeris."

    Lots of options, including web sites and downloadable programs you can use on your pocket PC.

    Be well,
  3. pvp


    If you have a Pocket PC, try Jonathan Sachs' Ephemeris program.
  4. Heavenly-Opportunity is v.good

  5. Keep in mind that there may be mountains or other things blocking the horizon, so check out the location ahead of time (bring a compass) and use a topo map ( topozone ) if you can't go there before the actual shooting time. Also, depending on the time of year, the path of the Moon across the sky will be higher or lower.
  6. The U.S. Navy site will adjust for the season. However, it won't adjust for topography. That said, if mountains are in the way you'll just be a bit early! Since the earth rotates at 15 degrees/hour you can use the same fist held at arm's length trick to estimate where the moon will be and when it will rise above the mountains.
  7. Hello all. Thanks for the great responses. I have seen the US Navy Website. However, I'm currently living in The Great White North of Canada and this website does not accomodate any non-US locations.

    Any other suggestions?

    Thanks again!
  8. David,

    Try this website:

    It's Australian, but there is a link you can follow to get (or you can manually enter) the details of any other worldwide location if you want.

    To get the moonrise/moonset, follow the "Compute your own Moonrise/Moonset times" link, then to determine the Azimuth at this time, follow the "Compute your own Sun and Moon Azimuth & Elevation" link.

    Another way is to download an astronomy program such as SkyMap Pro (, which, amongst many other things, will allow you to calculate rise/set and azimuth/altitude parameters at any time and for any location you need.

    Don't forget that topographic maps are "projected", which means real world shapes have been distorted to convert them from a spheroidal earth to a flat map (think what happens to a mostly intact orange peel if you try to flatten it.) In reality the distortion of shape is imperceptible, but the process will cause a slight deviation between "true" north, which is what astronomical programs work with, and "grid" north, which is what your map grid is oriented towards. You'll need to apply this correction, called the Grid Convergence, to accurately position the rising/setting moon relative to foreground objects. This information will be printed on the marginalia of your map.

    Grid Convergence may be several degrees, and given that the full moon only appears around half a degree in diameter, forgetting the correction can easily throw off your position. Of course, if you're only interested in a rough indication of where the moon will be, you can omit this calculation altogether :).

    Hope this helps.

  9. pvp


    Any other suggestions?
    David, the Ephemeris program I cited allows you to add new locations to the database, so it should be usable in your location. Also, Sachs has a PC=based version at -- click on the Downloads link on the menu bar.
  10. The main newspaper's weather page should have this info. It can be frustrating - if there's cloud cover directly above, it may never come. The actual direction may not be that important if you get there good and early - be on the lookout. I was at Lake Michigan last Friday at 4:00 AM, tripod set, camera mounted. Previous day's paper listed the moonrise to be 4:24, and the sunrise to be 5:35 - I thought "wow, a shot with the moon just above the sun coming up". But no, it didn't happen like that - didn't happen at all. There was no moon, and the sun was a weak red. Does anyone at have such a shot?
  11. Hi David,

    For what it's worth, the angular separation between the sun and moon last friday was only about 11?, which is about the same distance as the width of your clenched fist held at arm's length. That makes them pretty close together; at that separation you'd need to have exceptionally clear weather, and you'd have to know *exactly* where to locate the moon relative to the sun. (When the moon is this close to new, it's basically back-lit, so it won't be much brighter than the sky itself).

    Some time back I recall seeing a bit of an informal competition amongst astro-photographers to see who could photograph the 'newest' moon. A one-day old moon like the one you attempted would be a fine effort.

  12. If you have a Palm Pilot (or any handheld that uses Palm OS), try the RiseSet program ( It calculates sun and moon information (rise, set, altitude, and azimuth). You can set the location to anywhere in the world as long as you have the latitude and longitude. US coordinates can be found at the USGS Graphical Names Information System (GNIS) at
  13. The Old Farmer's Almanac is the low tech way for me and is good if you live in the U.S. I never really needed the precsion you're asking for though because I usually know where I am and where north is so I have a good idea of where to look for the moon. I had an enlightening experience on a boardwalk on Cape Cod. After I watched an amazing sunset on my left the full Strawberry moon (Indian name) was coming up on my right. Here's a link to the Almanac's astronomy page:
    Old Farmer's Almanac Astronomy Page

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