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Old 02-19-2010, 09:17 AM
 
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Two nights ago, I looked up and saw the moon showing only the bottom quarter. I have never seen that before. I told my husband that he had to look because it was just not right. I looked a little on the internet and I can't find anything that talks about anything out of the ordinary taking place. Does anyone know what was going on? It was so weird to see. Thanks.
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Old 02-19-2010, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Looked normal in N Alabama. Do you mean part of the crescent wasn't visible?
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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I noticed it, too. I guess sometimes it does just show the bottom part or the side.
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:12 PM
 
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It was like a quarter of the moon which was supposed to be showing but the circular part instead of being on the side was on the bottom (like a bowl sitting on the table.)
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:22 PM
 
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I don't want to point out the obvious, but did you ever think a cloud could be obscuring the moon? Otherwise the path of moon around earth has changed, which is unlikely. Did you check what phase of the moon should be at in your part of the world?
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Old 02-20-2010, 12:28 AM
 
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Is this what you mean? I sometimes see it go from the bottom up in becoming a full moon.



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Old 02-20-2010, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Duncan, OK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgomez912 View Post
Is this what you mean? I sometimes see it go from the bottom up in becoming a full moon.


More like the second picture and it was exactly center/bottom.

(I saw it too Anywhere. ) When I noticed, it was hanging on the western horizon...it did look a little odd.
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Old 02-20-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgomez912 View Post
Is this what you mean? I sometimes see it go from the bottom up in becoming a full moon.



Nice pics! There are a number of factors involved with what we're seeing, including the seasonal tilt of the Earth, where the Moon is located in the sky, what direction the viewer is facing, and the phase the Moon.

Let's look at the bottom pic for example. The pic kind of looks like a lunar eclipse. Regardless, there's a little bit of light along the horizon of the pic, so the time is either at dusk or dawn and is seen in the direction of either the east or west horizon. Let's also assume we're located in the northern latitude. If we look at it when it's located midway between the east and west horizons, AND we're facing south, the crescent will appear to be on the left side, not on the bottom side of the moon. It can look like the crescent is on the bottom if it's near the west horizon AND we're facing west. Conversely, the crescent would look like it's at the top if it's rising in the East and we're looking east.

Comparing both photos, the crescent appears to be at a slight angle in the top photo, whereas the bottom photo shows the crescent at the bottom of the Moon. Again, the reason for the angle depends where the Moon is located in the sky, AND what direction the viewer is facing. If you turn yourself slightly and take a photo, the angle of the crescent will show up on the photo as being on an angle because of the direction you were facing. If you look at the Moon with a telescope, you'll see the "line" between the light and dark areas of the Moon are exactly along the same lunar features (craters, etc.) no matter where the Moon is located between moonrise and moonset or what direction you're facing.

The thing is that the what's being thought of as looking at the bottom quarter of the Moon isn't the bottom quarter at all. It's just how it looks because of the direction you're facing to look at it. It isn't anything unusual. I'm not sure how clear, all that sounds, but maybe it helps clear up the "mystery" a little bit.
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Old 02-20-2010, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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OK, I think I see the problem. You know that because of gravitational pulls, the moon, the sun, and the earth are all on the same plane, sorta like rotating balls on a big sheet of flat paper. If you look down at that sheet of paper from a god view, any light coming from the sun ball creates shadows on the earth ball and moon ball that appear identical, except that one is smaller.

From an observer on the earth (ball), the crescent shadow of the moon is seen in relation to the LOCAL horizon, not from a god view. That means that from the point of view of an observer on the equator of the earth, the crescent is vertical. For an observer very near the top or bottom of that ball, the crescent would always appear as a cup or dome shape.

Since the axis of the earth is not vertical but tilted about 20 degrees, observers in fixed locations see variations between the two extremes at various times of the year. These add or subtract from the natural tilted view from that particular latitude. Because of that axis tilt, the sun and moon appear to set over different parts of the horizon during different times of the year.

All this begs the question - did you by any chance move further north in the past year or two? Small differences in latitude can have some startling effects, especially in the mid-latitudes.

I remember one day when I was operating a drive-in theatre in northern Vermont, and my district manager in Rhode Island called around dusk. He thought I was slacking off when I told him we hadn't started the show yet, it was too light. There was about a 30 minute difference in effective sunset between the two locations. The astronomical tables will show a small difference in times, but the further north you go the longer the afterglow of a sunset lasts. I finally was able to convince him that I wasn't bluffing, but until then he wasn't a happy camper.
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Old 02-20-2010, 02:02 PM
 
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We have lived here for over 3 years, in Kansas. Just talked to my brother in Michigan and he saw the same thing and the calendar says 1/4 moon on that day. Neither he, I or my husband has seen this in our over 50 years each in age. I saw it in the west when taking out the dog which I do in the evening 365 days a year. I thought it might have something to do with the "shift", polar one. This is like nothing before..........
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