The moon will be in the last quarter phase tonight, and the lunar face will be half sunlit.
During this lunar phase, the Moon will appear in the constellation Taurus, providing skywatchers with an opportunity to search for some of the more prominent celestial bodies in Taurus.
From New York City, the last quarter moon will be visible shortly after sunrise around 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT on Sept. 7). The half-lit moon will be visible all night and into the next morning even before it disappears below the horizon around 2:26 p.m. EDT (1826 GMT) on Thursday (September 7), according to in the sky.
Related: Full Moon Calendar 2023: When will you see the next full moon?
The last quarter phase is exactly halfway between a fully lit full moon and a fully dark new moon in the 29.5-day lunar cycle. Since the last full moon – the blue moon that rose on August 30 – the illuminated part of the moon’s face has begun to wane, which astronomers call a “waning”. The waning moon will be complete on September 14 when the new moon rises, marking the start of a new lunar cycle.
Between the full moon and the new moon, our planet’s natural satellite will also rise and set about an hour later each day. This means that while the full moon rises with sunset and sets with sunrise, the new moon will rise and set with the sun, thus setting most of the night.
After new moon, the moon will continue to set and rise an hour later each day, but the illuminated side of the moon’s face will grow—what astronomers call “waxing”—leading to the next full moon, the harvest moon on Friday, September. .29.
However, before the moon reaches this phase, it will once again reach a half-lit phase in its cycle – called the first quarter moon. This will be a mirror image of Wednesday’s last quarter moon, with the opposite side of the lunar face illuminated and the moon will rise around midday and set around midday instead of rising around midnight and setting around noon as it will in the middle of the week this week.
Among the observational targets in Taurus, to which the moon will be close during the last quarter phase, the “eye of the bull” includes the star Aldebaran (or Alpha Taurus), a red giant star located about 65 light-years from Earth. “Aldebaran” means “follower” in Arabic, and the star gets this name because it follows the famous Pleiades star cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters, on the horizon.
On Wednesday, this bright open cluster of thousands of hot blue stars will rise around 10:08 PM EDT (0208 GMT) and set the next day. According to in the sky.
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the moon alongside some of the stars of the constellation Taurus, our guide to the best binoculars is a great place to find some wide-angle optics on the go or at home.
But if you want to get a closer look at either, check out our guides to the best telescopes or the best budget telescopes.
And if you’re looking to take pictures of the moon or the night sky in general, check out our guide on how to photograph the moon, as well as our best cameras for astrophotography and the best lenses for astrophotography.
Editor’s note: If you took a photo of the last quarter of the Moon and would like to share it with Space.com readers, send your photo(s), comments, name, and location to email@example.com.