Moon Phase Today | Moon Phase Calculator | Tonight’s Moon | Current Moon Phase (2024)

The second phase of the lunar cycle; occurs between the New Moon and the first quarter Moon. The waxing phases represent the Moon becoming more illuminated, so at the beginning of this phase, the Moon appears thin, crescent-shaped, and then the illuminated area slowly expands until the first quarter phase.

Check today’s Moon phase with our 2024 Moon Phase Calculator. You can see what the Moon looks like tonight and every day of the month! We highlight the four main lunar phases: New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon, and Last Quarter Moon, along with when they occur. You'll also know the percentage of the Moon’s illumination and its age for each day. This Moon calendar is conveniently set to YOUR local time, meaning you can start using it immediately without having to adjust it. Plus, you can check Moon phases from as far back as 1600 or look ahead all the way to 2400.

Contents

  • July-August 2024 Moon phases and dates
  • What are the Moon phases?
  • All the Moon phases in order
    • New Moon
    • Waxing Crescent
    • First Quarter
    • Waxing Gibbous
    • Full Moon
    • Waning Gibbous
    • Last Quarter
    • Waning Crescent
  • What is the Moon cycle?
    • Moon age
    • When will the Moon be visible tonight?
  • What is the best time to see the Moon?
    • Which Moon phase is best for stargazing?
  • F.A.Q.
    • How many Moon phases are there?
    • Why do we see different phases of the Moon?
    • Why do we only see one side of the Moon?
    • Do the phases of the Moon affect the tides?
    • How long does each Moon phase last?
    • How do I know if the Moon is waxing or waning?
    • When does the Moon rise tonight?
  • Phases of the Moon: the key takeaway

July-August 2024 Moon phases and dates

  • New Moon: July 5
  • First Quarter: July 13
  • Full Moon: July 21
  • Last Quarter: July 28
  • New Moon: August 4
  • First Quarter: August 12
  • Full Moon: August 19
  • Last Quarter: August 26

Related links:

  • Full Moon in June 2024
  • Full Moon in July 2024
  • Full Moon in August 2024
  • Full Moons 2024: When is the next Full Moon?
  • Infographic: Full Moon Names
  • What Planet is Next to the Moon Tonight?

What are the Moon phases?

The Moon is a spherical object, and it's consistently half-illuminated by the Sun in space. Yet, as the Moon travels around the Earth, its appearance in our sky is constantly changing. The different Moon phases show us how much of the Moon's illuminated side we can see from the Earth’s perspective at a given time.

Moon Phase Today | Moon Phase Calculator | Tonight’s Moon | Current Moon Phase (1)

All the Moon phases in order

There are eight traditionally recognized Moon phases. The four major phases are the Full Moon, New Moon, First Quarter, and Last Quarter. In between, there are four minor ones: the Waxing Crescent, Waxing Gibbous, Waning Gibbous, and Waning Crescent. The major Moon phases mark specific moments, while the minor phases span about 7.4 days, with the lunar appearance changing gradually throughout this period.

Moon Phase Today | Moon Phase Calculator | Tonight’s Moon | Current Moon Phase (2)

New Moon

During the New Moon phase, the Moon is positioned between the Earth and the Sun and rises together with the Sun. The Moon's side facing the Earth is not illuminated, so it is dark and cannot be observed. When the New Moon aligns precisely with the Sun and Earth, a solar eclipse occurs.

Waxing Crescent

After the New Moon, a small portion of the lunar disc becomes visible, forming a crescent shape. This phase marks the beginning of the Moon's waxing (growing) period. The illuminated portion of the Moon increases each night.

First Quarter

The First Quarter phase is reached when the Moon has completed one quarter of its orbit around the Earth. During this phase, half of the lunar disc is lit up; that’s why it is also known as the Half Moon. At this point, the Moon is positioned 90 degrees away from the Sun in the sky.

Waxing Gibbous

Following the First Quarter, more than half of the lunar disc receives sunlight, but it’s not fully illuminated yet. The illuminated portion continues to grow, making the Moon appear larger night after night.

Full Moon

The Full Moon occurs when the Earth is positioned between the Moon and the Sun, and the entire lunar disc is illuminated by the Sun. When the Full Moon aligns precisely with the Sun and Earth, a lunar eclipse occurs. The Full Moon rises right after sunset and is visible throughout the night. It is the opposite of the New Moon and is the brightest and most noticeable phase. Learn more about the Full Moons and their traditional monthly names in our Full Moon calendar.

Waning Gibbous

After the Full Moon, the illuminated portion of the lunar disc begins to decrease. In the Waning Gibbous phase, more than half of the Moon is still visible, but it gradually gets smaller each night.

Last Quarter

Similar to the First Quarter, half of the lunar disc is visible from Earth during the Last Quarter (or the Third Quarter) phase. However, during this phase, the other half of the Moon is illuminated. The Moon is positioned 90 degrees away from the Sun in the sky.

Waning Crescent

The final phase, the Waning Crescent, occurs just before the New Moon. In this phase, only a tiny crescent-shaped portion of the Moon is visible, and it continues to shrink until it becomes the New Moon once again.

What is the Moon cycle?

The Moon cycle is one revolution of the Moon in its orbit around the Earth. During the Moon cycle, we see different phases of the Moon, and they repeat as the Moon repeats its orbit around the Earth. It takes about 29.5 days for the Moon to complete its orbit.

The lunar cycle from New Moon to New Moon is also called a synodic month or lunation.

Moon age

The term "Moon age" typically refers to the number of days that have passed since the last New Moon. It is a way to describe where the Moon is in its lunar cycle.

For example, on the day of the New Moon, the Moon's age is 0 days because it's just beginning its cycle. Since the lunar cycle from New Moon to New Moon lasts 29.5 days, the 29-day-old Moon is the Moon one day before the New Moon.

When will the Moon be visible tonight?

The free astronomy app Sky Tonight can help you find the exact moonrise and moonset times for your location, the Moon’s position in the sky, and more. Scroll through the "Moon" tab in the app's calendar, find the Moon with the search to learn more about it, or find our natural satellite on the sky map and use the time machine to learn where it is located at any given time.

Moon Phase Today | Moon Phase Calculator | Tonight’s Moon | Current Moon Phase (3)

What is the best time to see the Moon?

Here are some tips for you to get the most out of observing the Moon:

  • The Full Moon is the most exciting phase to observe with the naked eye. It's bright and large and can sometimes appear in unusual colors. However, the Full Moon is not the best phase for close observations because the sunlight falls directly on our natural satellite, leaving no shadows and contrast. Also, the Moon’s light washes out most celestial objects, making stargazing more difficult.

  • The Waning and Waxing Crescent phases are the best times to observe the lunar landscape through a telescope because the long shadows and pronounced terminator line reveal surface details such as craters and mountains. The Moon appears in a three-dimensional perspective.

Moon Phase Today | Moon Phase Calculator | Tonight’s Moon | Current Moon Phase (4)
  • Around the First Quarter phase, the Moon is well-seen in the evening hours. This makes it a convenient phase for observations.

  • Around the Last Quarter phase, the Moon can be observed in the morning. At this time, the shadows on the Moon are at their longest, and the Earth's atmosphere is at its clearest, allowing the finer details of the lunar surface to be observed.

  • The New Moon phase is perfect for stargazing because when the Moon's disc vanishes, the night sky becomes notably darker. This darkness makes it possible to observe faint celestial objects that can be difficult to see in a moonlit sky.

Overall, each lunar phase has unique traits. Explore each phase and create your own experience!

Which Moon phase is best for stargazing?

While the best phases for viewing the Moon are the First Quarter and Last Quarter, the best lunar phase for night sky observations is the New Moon. During the New Moon, our natural satellite appears as a darkened disc in the sky, invisible to the naked eye; it also rises and sets with the Sun. So the sky is dark and free of moonlight all night.

Don't be upset if you didn't get a chance for observations during the New Moon — during the crescent phase, the sky is also dark enough. Besides, you can choose the time when the Moon is under the horizon or observe the part of the sky far from the Moon. The same tip applies to observations during the First Quarter or Last Quarter Moon, when the lunar disk appears half-lit.

As the lunar phase changes, so does the brightness of our natural satellite (but not in the way you might think). The Full Moon is six times brighter than a half-illuminated Moon. Interestingly, even three nights before a Full Moon, the lunar disc is only half as bright as during a Full Moon.

P.S. Here is a tip for observing the night sky during a Full Moon — simply hide this bright light source behind something (like a tree) so that its light does not shine directly on your surroundings. Do you know any other observation hacks? Take our quiz to test your skills!

F.A.Q.

How many Moon phases are there?

There are four major lunar phases (Full Moon, New Moon, First Quarter, and Last Quarter) and four minor phases in between (Waxing Crescent, Waxing Gibbous, Waning Gibbous, and Waning Crescent).

Why do we see different phases of the Moon?

We see different phases of the Moon because of its changing position relative to the Earth and the Sun. The Moon doesn't emit its own light; it reflects sunlight. As it orbits the Earth, the angle between the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun changes, and we see more or less of the Moon's lit-up side.

Why do we only see one side of the Moon?

We always see one side of the Moon because the Moon rotates exactly once on its axis each time it completes one orbit around the Earth – a phenomenon known as "tidal locking" or "synchronous rotation." By the way, the far side of the Moon isn’t actually "dark," it receives just as much sunlight as the side that Earthlings can see.

Moon Phase Today | Moon Phase Calculator | Tonight’s Moon | Current Moon Phase (5)

Do the phases of the Moon affect the tides?

The Moon phases affect the height of the tides. During the Full Moon and New Moon phases, the Moon, the Sun, and the Earth line up, and the Sun’s gravitational pull is "added" to the Moon’s gravitational pull on the Earth. As a result, high tides are a little higher, and low tides are a little lower. During the First and Last Quarter phases, the Sun pulls against the Moon's gravitational pull, making the tides moderate: high tides are a little lower, and low tides are a little higher. See how the lunar tides work in our short video.

How long does each Moon phase last?

Technically, the four major phases (New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon, Last Quarter) are actually very brief moments, even though they might appear to last a day or two to the naked eye. The remaining time is divided among the four intermediate phases (Waxing Crescent, Waxing Gibbous, Waning Crescent, Waning Gibbous). With the Moon's cycle lasting approximately 29.5 days, each of these additional phases spans around 7.4 days.

How do I know if the Moon is waxing or waning?

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Moon illuminated on the right is waxing, while the Moon illuminated on the left is waning. In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the other way around. Also, the waxing Moon rises in the daytime and sets at night, while the waning Moon rises at night and sets in the daytime. Near the equator, the Moon appears to be "on its side," so the waxing lunar disk is illuminated on the bottom in the Northern Hemisphere and on the top in the Southern Hemisphere.

When does the Moon rise tonight?

Moonrise and moonset times depend on the current phase of the Moon, your location, and your time zone. You can find the exact rise and set times and other important information about our natural satellite in the stargazing app Sky Tonight.

Phases of the Moon: the key takeaway

The Moon goes through four major and four minor lunar phases in its 29.5-day lunar cycle. In this calendar, you can find the Moon's phase, age, illumination, and more for each day. If you want to know the exact setting and rising time and the position of the Moon in the sky for any given moment – get the Sky Tonight app.

Moon Phase Today | Moon Phase Calculator | Tonight’s Moon | Current Moon Phase (2024)

FAQs

What moon phase are we in right now? ›

The Moon's current phase for today and tonight is a Waxing Crescent Phase. Best seen in the west after the sun dips below the horizon at sunset. This is the first Phase after the New Moon and is a great time to see the features of the moon's surface.

How to calculate moon phase? ›

Calculating phase

The approximate age of the Moon, and hence the approximate phase, can be calculated for any date by calculating the number of days since a known new moon (such as 1 January 1900 or 11 August 1999) and reducing this modulo 29.53059 days (the mean length of a synodic month).

Is the moon affecting my mood today? ›

People anecdotally report that the full moon affects their mood, but the existing research does not support this claim. An older 1985 meta-analysis found no connection between phases of the moon and mental health admissions to hospitals, for example.

What are the phases of the moon answers? ›

A moon phase is the shape of moon's sunlit portion as seen from Earth. There are a total of eight moon phases: new, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full, waning gibbous, third quarter, and waning crescent. These phases repeat every 29.5 days.

What is the Moon in right now astrology? ›

At present, the Moon is in the Waxing Crescent phase. Today's Moon is a Leo Moon, which entered the sign on July 06, 2024 at 11:55 PM.

Why is the Moon so big tonight? ›

A supermoon occurs when the Moon's orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time the Moon is full. Why does the Moon look so big when it's rising or setting? The Moon illusion is the name for this trick our brains play on us.

What moon phase are soulmates? ›

Some people doing this trend are working under the assumption that the moon should look full when you line up both people's moon phases (i.e., a waxing crescent and a waning gibbous, or a first quarter and last quarter moon), while others think you should have the same moon phase.

What moon phase is 100%? ›

At New Moon the percent illuminated is 0; at First and Last Quarters it is 50%; and at Full Moon it is 100%.

How many hours does a moon phase last? ›

Each of these in-between phases lasts about 7 days and 9 hours. Altogether, the lunar cycle takes 29.5 days to complete.

What does the full moon do to your body? ›

There's also some evidence that a full moon can lead to less deep sleep and a delay in entering into REM sleep. In addition, some studies have shown a slight change in cardiovascular conditions during a full moon. Scientists continue to study how the moon influences various physiological and psychological systems.

Can the moon affect your behavior? ›

So, does the Moon really affect our health and mood? There is no absolute proof that the Moon affects human mental and physical health, though its effect has been observed in other organisms: corals for instance appear to time their spawning based on the lunar cycle.

What is moon sickness? ›

In 2008 British researchers found a link between the lunar cycle and what doctors call “medically unexplained stroke symptoms,” where patients develop complaints such as headaches, numbness and coordination issues but have nothing physically wrong with them.

What phase is the Moon in today? ›

Waxing Crescent

Today's moon is 13.57% visible and is crescent. 4 days left to the next phase 1st Quarter.

How long does a full moon last? ›

Though a Full Moon only occurs during the exact moment when Earth, Moon, and Sun form a perfect alignment, to our eyes, the Moon seems Full for around three days.

What is the Moon phase step by step? ›

The moon phases in order are new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, last quarter, waning crescent.

What does the emoji 🌑 mean? ›

A new moon, the first of the eight phases of the moon. Depicts the moon as a full, bluish- or grayish-black, cratered disc, not illuminated by the sun. May be used to represent the moon more generally, nighttime, outer space, and astronomy. May also be used to convey enchanting or eerie feelings.

What is 🌖? ›

A waning gibbous moon (appearing more than half full but getting smaller), the sixth of the eight phases of the moon.

What emoji is this 🌕? ›

When the 🌕 hits your eye … The Full Moon emoji 🌕 depicts the celestial object as a round, yellow orb with visible craters. The emoji is used to represent all things lunar, outer space, the night, spiritual sisterhood, and, occasionally, the butt.

What are the 12 phases of the moon in order? ›

These continually changing views of the sunlit part of the Moon are the Moon's phases. The eight lunar phases are, in order: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter and waning crescent.

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