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Look Up for the Closest Quarter Moon in 2022

The next First Quarter Moon will be the closest Quarter Moon this year. Celebrate the Moon on Saturday, October 1, for International Observe the Moon Night.

Close-up of a half moon seen on black space background at night.

The First Quarter Moon is an excellent time to look closer at the Moon’s terminator, the line separating the dark and the lit-up side of the Moon.

©iStockphoto.com/tobiasjo

“International Observe the Moon Night is a day each year where NASA invites everyone on Earth to observe, learn about, and celebrate the Moon,” says Andrea Jones, the Director of International Observe the Moon Night at NASA.

Always at First Quarter

Every year, International Observe the Moon Night is celebrated in September or October on a Saturday close to the First Quarter Moon.

This year, the event lands on October 1.

Back to the Moon

NASA’s Artemis I mission is launching soon... The uncrewed flight is the first in a series of deep-space missions designed to return humans to the Moon.

You might think that a bright Full Moon would be the chosen phase for a Moon celebration, but Andrea tells timeanddate that the First Quarter Moon is a deliberate choice:

“It’s great for evening observing, and I think it’s even more interesting to look at the Moon when there is a terminator. The Full Moon is so bright that it can be hard to see the details.”

The terminator is the line separating the Moon’s dark and lit-up side.

“If you look along the terminator through a telescope, you see rugged mountains and valleys. The Moon becomes a place to explore,” she adds.

Closest Quarter Moon This Year

The Moon will reach First Quarter on October 3 at 00:14 UTC. Fun fact: according to our data, this will be the closest Quarter Moon of 2022.

Many people are familiar with Supermoons, where a Full Moon occurs around the time the Moon is at its closest point to Earth.

The same idea can be applied to Quarter Moons—although to a lesser extent. This is because ultra-close Earth-Moon distances only happen at Full Moon or New Moon, when the two bodies are aligned with the Sun.

The Three Closest Quarter Moons in 2022

DatePhaseEarth-Moon Distance
October 3First Quarter370,125 km (229,985 miles)
March 25Third Quarter370,164 km (230,009 miles)
November 1First Quarter370,692 km (230,337 miles)

For comparison, the closest Full Moon of 2022—the Supermoon on July 13—was much nearer: 357,417 km (222,089 miles).

“Everyone, Everywhere, Every Year”

“It’s the people who participate that make the event, and we encourage people to take it and make it their own. There are many different ways to observe the Moon: you can listen to Moon songs, make Moon cookies, and even get a 3D printout of the Moon,” says Andrea, pointing to a well of resources made especially for the event on moon.nasa.gov/observe.

“We all see the same Moon. So many people feel personally connected to it. By starting there, the Moon becomes an accessible entry point—a launching pad—to observe more broadly what else is out there in the sky: planets, stars, exoplanets. Everything is connected.”

Illustration image

Andrea Jones is the Director of the International Observe the Moon Night program at NASA.

©NASA

Get Involved

Our friends at Astronomers Without Borders will be organizing celebrations of International Observe the Moon Night in many locations around the world—so keep an eye out for events in your area.

In New York, for example, timeanddate’s longtime collaborator Kat Troche will be part of an October 1 Fall Starfest organized by the Amateur Astronomers Association.

NASA also has a guide to finding an event in your area.

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