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Discovery Magazine 3/1/2018

Why Can We See the Moon When the Sun is Up?

by  Digger Doug

Dear Digger Doug,

Above the mountains, when the Sun will come up­—the moon and the stars will be up. Why can we see the moon when the Sun is up?­—John, Age 4


Dear John,

Always great to hear from our younger readers. It is true, the Moon can be seen sometimes during the day and other times during the night. Any time the Moon is visible, it is reflecting the Sun’s light. At night the Moon will appear bright because it is in a dark sky, but during the day the Moon will appear less bright because the blue sky is fairly bright.

Just like the Earth orbits (goes around) the Sun in a yearly cycle, the Moon orbits the Earth in a monthly cycle. During each month, the Moon goes through phases: Full, Quarter, Crescent, and New. These phases are caused by the alignment of the Sun, Earth, and Moon, where we see different portions of the sunlit side. When the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun, an observer on Earth will see a Full Moon. During the other phases of the Moon, when the Moon is not exactly opposite the Sun, it will be visible during the day for some amount of time.

Thanks for writing, and enjoy looking at God’s wonderful night (and day) lights.

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