On a clear night, we get to enjoy the wonders of space as we look at the stars and the moon. Then when the day rolls around, we are greeted by the fluffy clouds and the warmth of the sun, but hang on, is that the moon we can see? Where did that come from, and why is it out in the middle of the day?
The day/night cycle
As night turns to day and day turns to night there are many changes up there in the sky. When dawn rolls around, we are greeted with the sun in the up above, which later disappears at dusk. Every minute of every day our Earth is orbiting around the sun while turning all on its own. This is why the sun rises and sets, and also why we get the different seasons. However, while Earth is off on its own journey, so is the moon. As the Earth continues to turn, the moon is in its own lunar orbit that travels around the world.
Although both the sun and the moon appear in the sky, they are two very different formations. The sun is made up of gases that are burning at around 9,941 degrees Fahrenheit, or 5,505 degrees Celsius. The sun not only gives off light, but it also provides us with plenty of heat. That is why Earth is such an inhabitable planet! On the other hand, the moon is just a giant rock floating around in the sky. It doesn’t give off any form of light, nor does it provide us with heat. However, the moon’s gravitational pull is what makes the tides.
How we see the moon
So if the moon doesn’t give off any light, how do we see it at all? That’s all thanks to the sun. Although the moon is a rock, it’s brilliant at reflecting any light given off by the sun. If the moon is in between the Earth and the sun, then it’s incredibly hard to see the moon. This is what’s known as a new moon. However, if the moon and the sun are on opposite sides, our happy ball of rock can reflect as much light as possible. This is when we are greeted with a full moon. A full moon will appear roughly every 28 – 29 days.
When you hear the word “moonlight” people are actually referring to the sunlight being bounced off the moon itself. That means that if you want to catch a glimpse of the moon in the day then you best hope it’s on the right side of the planet. If the moon is on your side when the sun is out, then you will be able to get a chance to see the big rock itself. The best time to catch a look at a daytime moon is the morning before or the morning after there has been a full moon.
So it looks as though seeing the moon in the day isn’t our brains playing tricks on us – it is actually there! If you’re a moon lover, it looks as though you could be in with a chance of getting a glimpse of the rock even when the sun is shining.