Nasa explains why Moon is sometimes visible during daytime

Moon, like stars and planets, is omnipresent but typically invisible to human eye due to sky's brightness

By Web Desk
December 04, 2023
This picture shows the moon visible during the daytime. — Unsplash

When we think of the Moon, several things come to our mind — the wonder of Neil Armstrong's historic walk, the mystery of its bright illumination in the night sky and why it is sometimes visible during the day.

While we often associate the Moon with the night, it's important to remember that it does not always wait for nightfall to make its appearance and can sometimes be seen during the day — a perfectly normal phenomenon.

The lunar cycle plays a role in much more than just providing light after dark. For example, the Moon's position concerning the Earth and the Sun is what causes solar eclipses, among other phenomena.

The Moon, like the stars and planets, is omnipresent but typically invisible to the naked eye due to the bright sky, similar to the Sun's blaze. However, it does not only cease when morning arrives, making itself scarce in the solar system.

The Moon, which does not generate its light, is illuminated by the Sun through its surface glow, and its orbit moves through four phases. Its waxing and wanes phases allow it to appear closer to Earth, outshining the daytime sky.

Planetary geologist and Nasa scientist Sarah Noble explained that the Moon spends “almost as much time in the daytime sky as the night”.

In a Nasa video uploaded to YouTube, Noble explained that the Moon's visibility during the day depends on its proximity to Earth, its phase, and orbital pattern.

Weather season and cloud conditions may also affect its visibility, but the Moon may shine brightly during the day, as long as it is in the right part of the sky.

Noble continued: "During a full Moon, the Moon is opposite the Sun in the sky. That is why we can see the full face of the Moon reflecting sunlight.

"As the Earth rotates, the Moon rises just as the Sun sets, but just on that one day of the month. In the days before a full Moon, if you look in the eastern sky, you can find the almost full Moon rising before the sun sets.

"And the days after a full Moon, you can look in the western sky and find the Moon setting after the Sun has come up."