Why You Can (Almost) Never See A Full Moon During The Day

Most people are aware, through reading or looking up slightly, that the Moon is sometimes visible during the day. 

This occasionally freaks out conspiracy theorists, who seem to believe that the Moon should only come out at night like in cartoons – but this is of course easily explained by the rotation of the Earth and the orbit of the Moon, and both of our paths around the Sun.

A quick glance at an animation of the Moon’s orbit clears up why it’s nothing to panic about when you see the Moon during the day.



As you can see, the Moon reflects sunlight at the Earth (during most phases of the Moon) during the day and nighttime. 

You may have noticed that you never see the full Moon during the daytime. This is because full Moons happen when the Sun and the Moon are on opposite sides of the Earth. 

This should help clear things up.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

If you think you have seen the full Moon during the day, likely at sunrise or sunset, you probably saw it a day or two on either side of being truly full – though very rarely you may be able to spot a full Moon very close to the horizon if conditions are right.

All “explainer” articles are confirmed by fact checkers to be correct at time of publishing. Text, images, and links may be edited, removed, or added to at a later date to keep information current.  

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