Fraction of the Moon Illuminated
Astronomical Applications Dept. Astronomical Applications Dept.
 
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This data service calculates the fraction of the Moon's visible disk illuminated by the Sun for every day in a selected year between 1700 and 2100. The computed fraction is a quantitative way of describing the Moon's phase. Simply fill in the form below and click on the "Compute Table" button.

Form A - U.S. Time Zones

  

Reference time:  

 

Form B - All Time Zones

  

Reference time:  

Time Zone:    
Need a time zone?  Try the time zone map.

The time zone can be entered in hours and a fraction. For example, for locations in India, the time zone may be entered as 5.5 hours east of Greenwich. The time zone field can accommodate up to five characters.

Notes

Printing

The table is 111 characters wide, so to print it, you will have to use landscape orientation. You may have to save the table to a file on your computer (for example, in Internet Explorer, click on Page then Save As...), then use your own favorite word processor to print it.

How to Import the Table into a Spreadsheet

Open your favorite text editor, then copy the numerical part of the table (i.e., do not copy the table headings) from your browser and paste it into the text editor. Save the data as a text file.

In Excel for Windows, select Data on the menu bar, then From Text. Select your saved text file. Choose fixed width in the dialog box.

In Excel for Mac, select Data on the menu bar, then Get External Data, then Import from Text File. Select your saved text file. Choose fixed width in the dialog box.

Fraction of the Moon Illuminated

The fraction illuminated is geocentric, that is, it is computed for a fictitious observer located at the center of the Earth.

The fraction applies both to

Moon Phases

The Moon's phases are not technically defined in terms of fraction illuminated. However, the phase of the Moon can be identified from the fraction illuminated. To the accuracy given in the table, the fraction illuminated at New Moon is 0.00, at First and Last Quarter it is 0.50, and at Full Moon it is 1.00. First and Last Quarter can be distinguished by noting whether the fraction illuminated is increasing or decreasing. First Quarter occurs when the fraction illuminated is increasing (Moon waxing; in evening sky) and Last Quarter occurs when the fraction illuminated is decreasing (Moon waning; in morning sky).

Additional Resources

For more information, see

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