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Why Is the Full Moon in the Daytime?

Full Moon occurs at a precise moment in time, i.e. the instant when the Sun and the Moon are aligned on opposite sides of Earth.

Illustration of the Moon's position in space in relation to Earth and the Sun at Full Moon

The Moon's position in space at Full Moon.

The Full Moon is the exact moment the Sun and the Moon are aligned on opposite sides of Earth.

@timeanddate.com

If you are looking at our Moon phase pages and see that Full Moon is during the daytime in your location, it means that this is the exact moment of that particular Full Moon alignment.

The technical term for this alignment is syzygy of the Sun-Earth-Moon-system. At the precise moment of the Full Moon alignment, the Moon is only visible in the night part of Earth, with a few exceptions.

Looks Full in the Evening

However, the Moon still appears full when it rises on that evening in your area.

Around the Full Moon phase, the Moon is visible in the sky approximately from sunset to sunrise. In very special cases, you can see both the Full Moon and the Sun, as it rises or sets, at the same time, in opposite directions.

Can Appear Full Night Before

Illustration image
A Full Moon in Lofoten, Norway.
The Moon appears full for 1 or 2 nights around the Full Moon alignement.
©bigstockphoto.com/harvepino

The Moon may even have looked full on the night before if it was more than 98% illuminated, and it can be difficult to tell the difference between a Full Moon and the last stage of a Waxing Gibbous Moon or the beginning of a Waning Gibbous Moon.

You can find all the details about the Moon’s phases and degree of illumination on our Moon phase pages and read about all the Moon's phases in our articles.

Next Full Moon

Dec 22, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Previous Full Moon

Nov 23, 2018 at 12:39 am

Times for Full Moon can vary by time zone. Dates are based on the local time in Washington DC. Change location

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The Moon

  1. What Is a Supermoon?
  2. The Moon Illusion
  3. The Moon Phases
  4. The Moon's Effect on Tides
  5. What Is a Micro Moon?
  6. How Can Full Moon Be in the Daytime?
  7. Is a Blue Moon Blue?
  8. The Moon's Orbit
  9. The Far Side of the Moon
  10. What Is a Black Moon?
  11. What Are Moonbows?
  12. Full Moon Names
  13. Taking pictures of the Moon

Moon index

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