Southern Hemisphere Lunar Phases

The Moon moves about 15 degrees (almost a hand span) across the sky from from night to night. The side of the Moon toward the Sun is lit, so before full moon the left side of the Moon (for Southern hemisphere viewers) is the lit side. The right side of the moon is lit after full moon.

The Moon looks different in the Southern Hemisphere than it does in the Northern Hemisphere. That's because folk in the Northern Hemisphere view the Moon upside down. The following images taken by Maurice Collins show the Moon the way it ought to look, at least for Southern Hemisphere observers. See the bottom of the page for images of (near) new moon, first quarter, full moon and last quarter moon.


Moon phases 2015

Moon Phases for 2015, New Zealand dates and times

New Moon First quarter Full Moon Last quarter
    5 Jan 2015 17:53 13 Jan 2015 22:47
21 Jan 2015 2:14 27 Jan 2015 17:48 4 Feb 2015 12:09 12 Feb 2015 16:50
19 Feb 2015 12:47 26 Feb 2015 6:14 6 Mar 2015 7:05 14 Mar 2015 6:48
20 Mar 2015 22:36 27 Mar 2015 20:43 5 Apr 2015 1:06  
 
Date and times NZST = UT + 12 hours
      12 Apr 2015 15:44
19 Apr 2015 6:57 26 Apr 2015 11:55 4 May 2015 15:42 11 May 2015 22:36
18 May 2015 16:13 26 May 2015 5:19 3 Jun 2015 4:19 10 Jun 2015 3:42
17 Jun 2015 2:05 24 Jun 2015 23:03 2 Jul 2015 14:20 9 Jul 2015 8:24
16 Jul 2015 13:24 24 Jul 2015 16:04 31 Jul 2015 22:43 7 Aug 2015 14:03
15 Aug 2015 2:53 23 Aug 2015 7:31 30 Aug 2015 6:35 5 Sep 2015 21:54
13 Sep 2015 18:41 21 Sep 2015 20:59    
 
Date and times NZDT = UT + 13 hours
    28 Sep 2015 15:51 5 Oct 2015 10:06
13 Oct 2015 13:06 21 Oct 2015 9:31 28 Oct 2015 1:05 4 Nov 2015 1:24
12 Nov 2015 6:47 19 Nov 2015 19:27 26 Nov 2015 11:44 3 Dec 2015 20:40
11 Dec 2015 23:29 19 Dec 2015 4:14 26 Dec 2015 0:12  

The following images taken by Maurice Collins show the Moon as new(ish), first quarter, full moon and last quarter. The Moon takes about a month to go from new moon through its various phases and back to new moon. Indeed, the word month derives directly from that cycle.

The details on the moon change dramatically from day to day. Indeed even from hour to hour the change in details can be facinating with some features only observable for a few hours at the right phase. Binoculars or a small telescope are fine as a starting point for observing the Moon.

 

This two and a half day old Moon is about as soon after new moon that a good lunar image can be obtained. Any earlier and the Moon is too close in the sky to the Sun.

 

The lunar cycle takes close to four weeks so seven days is a quarter of the way through the cycle, first quarter, even though the Moon is half lit. Notice how the detail increases toward the terminator (the day/night or light/dark line) where the shadows cast by lunar features are longer - think morning/evening shadows.

 

Two weeks in is half way through the cycle and the Moon is fully lit. At full moon the Moon and Sun are on opposite sides of the Earth so the Moon rises as the Sun sets, and sets as the Sun rises. During full moon shadows are short on the Moon (think midday shadows on Earth) so very little crater detail can be seen, but "seas" and the rays from large craters are easy to see.

 

Week three of four and last quarter. You'll need to stay up late or get up early in the morning to observe the Moon now. The last quarter Moon rises near midnight.