The Moon

New This Month

The visual moon guide has been improved to include the major phases of the moon and alter shading to make it clearer that the night sky is not as disrupted when the moon is in its crescent phases as it is when gibbous or full.

The Moon In February

We hit this lunar cycle’s first quarter on the first day of the month, you can see what that looks like at the bottom of this page.

Whilst that’s a great time for hunting members of the Lunar 100, it also marks the start of the more disruptive period of lunar light. The moon is in its waxing gibbous phase for the first week of the month and hits full on the night of the 9th/10th of Feb. By the night of the 15th, moonrise is after midnight and dark evenings remain in place until the last week of the month.

Last quarter is visible in the early morning of the 16th, and the moon leaves the night sky in its entirety as it heads towards new on the night of the 23rd. In the closing days of the month the waxing crescent moon once more appears after the sun sets, but it too sinks below the horizon before midnight.

If you are planning a deep sky object hunt this month, evenings are best from the 13th thru 25th, mornings on the 01st/02nd and then 19th thru 29th, and the whole night is practically moonless between the 18th and 25th of Feb.

Moon Phases, Rise & Set Times

Whether you are planning to observe the moon, or you want to make sure to avoid it, use the table below to discover when the moon will be above the horizon in February. The ‘Illumination’ column shows how bright it is going to be – the higher the %, the brighter the moon.

Moon Table Notes

  • A=Apogee (furthest approach), P=Perigee (closest approach), FQ=First Quarter, LQ=Last Quarter
  • All times are for Kansas City (DST). However, these times will be approximately accurate for your local time zone wherever you are in the northern hemisphere. For example, if you live in London, UK, the moonrise and set times will be no more than an hour different from those shown in the table above.
  • There are two moonrise columns in the table, this is because each day is timed from midnight to midnight. On some days in the month the moon is already in the sky at midnight, therefore it sets first before rising again later in the day. On other days, the moon is below the horizon at midnight. On those days it rises first before setting later in the day.
  • This table is available as a downloadable PDF in the Printables section.
  • The data in the table comes from timeanddate.com

Visualization Of The Moon’s Impact

The following chart shows a visualisation of when the moon is above the horizon and below. This should make it easier for you to plan which nights offer the darkest skies and which provide the best opportunity for observing the moon itself.

First & Last Quarter Moon Locations

The two pictures below from SkySafari 6 show the first quarter moon at 8pm on February 01st and the last quarter moon at 5am on 15th February. Click on the pictures for full screen versions.

First Quarter – 8pm, Saturday, February 01st (click for full screen)
Last Quarter – 5am, Saturday, February 15th (click for full screen)