Why is the Moon higher in the sky in winter and lower in the summer?
I think winter and summer are mixed up in the picture on this page. The Moon follows the Sun's path and the Sun certainly does not rise high in the winter and low in the summer.
Here's a copy of the image from the page you mentioned:
The Moon's path (and thus appearance in the sky) will depend on the season. Credit: Goddard Space Flight Center
The figure is correct the way it is drawn. To understand this, imagine the geometry of the Sun, Earth and Moon during the full Moon phase; the Sun and Moon are on opposite sides of the Earth. In the summer the tilt of the Earth's axis has us pointing toward the Sun during the day, so at night we must then be tilted away from the Moon. Because we are tilted away from Moon, it is lower in the sky. In the winter the situation is reversed and we are tilted toward the Moon at night and away from the Sun during the day.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
- Is the Moon seen as a crescent (and not a "boat") all over the world? Is the same phase of the moon visible from the Northern and Southern hemispheres?
- Does the Moon look different in the northern and southern hemispheres?
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 7448 times since December 15, 2011.
Last modified: December 15, 2011 9:59:55 AM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)