[help!] There Was No Moon Rise On May 6, 2004!

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by JUDGECAL, May 9, 2004.

  1. JUDGECAL Registered Member

    Greetings all,

    Ok....I need some expert opinion.

    I frequent several BBS's and I have now seen this topic posted on 3 different boards. (see attached posts from one of those boards in blue)

    The topic being that the moon isn't rising or setting on time and also the orbit seems to be shifting in the wrong direction for this early in the summer.

    I would like to know,

    1. Is this true? (is the moon late?)
    2. Is the sun rising, setting, and traversing the heavens properly?
    3. What could cause such perturbances? (a large mass coming into the gravitical sphere of influence on our respective orbits?)

    Anyhow, I'm just really confused and don't know enough of the subject to know if this is actually occuring or not and would apreciate anyones help i clearing up this matter.

    I mean, when was the last time you went out with a watch and a list of moonrise timetables and checked if all is well in our corner of the solar system?


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    Posted By: CliffMickelson
    Date: Friday, 7 May 2004, 2:43 p.m.

    They say that there is virtue in regularity.

    I say then, that this moon of our is proving itself to be virtually always, regularly late! (of late, that is!)

    I have regularly been making that statement of late, by virtue of the lately regular use of the US Navy Moonrise/set chart which can be found at virtually any time by a regular virtual visit to:


    Now, it comes down to this:

    Either the US Navy astronomers are suffering from toxic salt-water shock, or our poor benighted Mr. Moon doesn't know how to read his own chart!

    Here is last night's data: Read'em and scratch the ol' noggin!


    The following information is provided for Yakima, Yakima County, Washington (longitude W120.5, latitude N46.6): by the US Navy.

    USN Chart time of moon rise for May 6, 2004 ......11:28 Pacific Daylight time


    The following information is provided for RUMOR MILL NEWS Readers, NOT living in Yakima Washington (longitude W120.5, latitude N46.6) by CliffMickelson!

    Actual time of moon rise for May 6, 2004 .....12:18 May 7, 2004 Pacific Daylight time!


    Yup! That's right, folks! The moon didn't rise here on May 6! It rose on May 7 @ 12:18 in the AM!


    The total time of tardiness of Terra's errant lunar friend?

    50 minuets! That's an increase of 7 min. over last night!

    (for last nights info see my post)



    Now, here is another interesting little tidbit. As we all know, the waning moon rises after the summer equinox a bit farther to the East each succeeding night, until finally the waning crescent moon is only a few dozen degrees off of magnetic north by the early morning hours.

    Now, I can't say for certain, but this pattern should hold true regardless of the time of year. Perhaps not, but since I can't find any information to the contrary, but we will soon find out next month, following June 21.

    I spend hundreds of hours outside at night, both winter and summer. Since February, the waning moon has been rising farther in the WEST each consecutive night, instead of farther to the EAST!

    Last night the moon rose at this latitude at approx. 120 degrees east south east of magnetic north.

    The night before, (May 4, 2004) was the first night of the waning moon. On that night the moon rose 43 min. late (according to the Navy chart) and it rose at approx. 115 degrees east, southeast of magnetic north.

    That's a westward drift of 5 degrees to the West in the course of 24 hours. This is in keeping with the recent behavior over the last three months. The Westward drift, SHOULD slow down as the moon increasingly wanes. That would be the pattern it has exhibited since February. The question is: Why is it moving each consecutive night farther west at all?

    Stay tuned for more lunacy this evening!


    I've had other people pm me and I've read all over the net people saying the moon AND the sun are not rising in the right spots.

    I watch the sky constantly, but am not an astronomer or real student. I just like to watch.

    But it did hit me as strange, never noticing the moon deviate as much as I saw months ago. The moon does have an erratic orbit, but not so strange that suddenly hundreds of people on the net notice it for the first time in their lives. THAT is what I find really strange.

    Now, I noticed about 2 months ago that SKY and TELESCOPE data did not match The Old Farmer's Almanac per the moon rising and set times. They were off by an hour or so. I thought that was strange cause though only a very casual reader of Almanac, I always was under the impression that you could set your watch by it.

    Jed recently contacted me and said he thought the moon was wayyy to far south.


    Now, I just checked Sky and Telescope. It is showing the moon rising at about 1 am tonight, wayyyy south, from where I am. For a year the moon has been not quite directly overhead. I will keep a close watch IF I stay up that late.

    BUT, the Almanac, says the moon should have risen at 12:20 am in my area. 10 minutes ago. Let me go look .....................

    No moon yet. And these two sources are off by an hour as to when the moon should rise.

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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I'm not an astronomer so I can't answer all of your questions. But I can answer your title question.

    The lunar cycle is 28 days plus or minus some change. That's the number of days from one "new moon" to the next; the duration of its apparent recessional orbit around the Earth, as perceived by someone on Earth's rotating surface.

    That means that each time the moon rises, it's about 24/28 of an hour, or about fifty-one minutes, later than the previous moonrise, according to the clock of that observer who's rotating with the Earth. In other words, the time between moonrises is about 24 hours and 51 minutes.

    So there's no mystery here, it's just fourth-grade arithmetic. (For me anyway. I suppose today they don't teach long division until high school.) If the moon rises a few minutes before 2400 hours on Monday night, then it's going to rise almost a full hour after 2400 hours on Tuesday night, which technically makes it almost 0100 hours on Wednesday morning.

    (Don't try to get this from the TV guide. They consider anything that happens before 6:00 am on Wednesday to still be "late Tuesday night." There must be a lot of things besides long division that they're not teaching in school any more.

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    I wouldn't mind so much if the people who programmed the firmware in my VCR used the same definition, but apparently they are college graduates who know that the day changes at midnight, not 6am. Every time I set it up to tape something after midnight, it does it on the "wrong" day.)

    This will happen once every 28 days. During the moon's 28 day cycle it will only rise 27 times. The reason is that the moon is revolving about Earth in the same direction as Earth's rotation about its own axis, just much more slowly. The Earth rotates once every day whereas the moon makes only one revolution in 28 days. That one revolution is the reason that we only see 27 moonrises during 28 days of the Earth's rotation. The moon is trying to catch up with Earth's rotation, but it can only catch up one day every 28 days.

    The only way the moon could rise every day would be to rise at exactly the same time every day. If it were even a minute off one way or the other, then it would precess or recess slowly and you'd have the same phenomenon you have now, just slower. Eventually there would come a day that fit neatly between a moonrise just before one midnight and the next moonrise just after the following midnight.

    Of course, if the moon rose at exactly the same time every day, that would mean that it wasn't actually revolving around the Earth. Its apparent revolution would just be our perception from standing on Earth's rotating surface.

    If the moon weren't revolving, there would be no centrifugal force to keep it in orbit, and it would fall right into the Earth. . . .

    And since gravity would have accelerated it to around 3,000 mph by the time it impacted, it would undoubtedly shatter both itself and Earth into tiny pieces.

    So be glad that there's an occasional day with no moonrise. It keeps us alive.

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    Last edited: May 9, 2004
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