Julie G (14 March 2011)
"Re. Donna Danna "What is causing the Moon to rise in the west?""

Hi, John!

I haven't sent anything in for many years, and then only a couple of times and under a different name. Been reading since February, 1998: I'm old.

Thanks so much for your faithfulness! When I meet you in Heaven, I fully expect to see five doves on your crown.... Maybe engravings, maybe glowing dove-shaped gems, or -- who knows? after all, Jesus can do anything! -- maybe animated doves -- or something we can't yet imagine.

Julie Gardner
Wow. You have been with us since 1998, Julie!

Donna, you will be relieved to know that the Moon hasn't changed where it rises and sets. Its pattern is, however, supremely confusing!

I used to live in Chicago. Standing on the elevated L train platform, waiting to go home after working late, I had a clear view of the rising full Moon -- that was about the only time I saw the Moon. Once, visiting my parents, who live in a semi-rural area without streetlights, I asked them why sometimes it was so bright at night while at other times it wasn't ... well, I can only say that our city streetlights kept the entire night in a sort of yellowish twilight of sodium vapor bulbs, and the Moon's light didn't make much difference.

With all the light pollution at night, it's easy to lose track of what the Moon is doing. We notice it when we see it, and don't think about it when we don't see it.

And what <em>is</em> the Moon doing? It's being inconsistent! Each day, the Moon rises a bit later than the previous day (roughly half an hour to an hour later). The sun has a 24-hour day, but the Moon doesn't.

When the Moon is full, it rises just after sunset (in the east). When it's new, it rises early in the morning (again in the east), but is too thin to be visible until just after the sun sets -- at which time, if sighted in Jerusalem, it indicates the start of the next Jewish month. And the new Moon will be sighted in the west, just before it sets. We rarely notice the Moon during the daytime unless it's close to full.

In my location, the Moon rose at 8:20 a.m. on March 8th and set at 10:17 p.m. On the 9th, it rose at 8:54 a.m. and set at 11:14 p.m. On the 10th, it rose at 9:31 a.m. and set at 12:12 a.m. in the wee hours of the 11th. Then it rose at 10:15 a.m. later that morning, and set at 1:08 a.m. on the 12th. So when you saw the Moon in the evening in the west on those days, it was setting rather than rising. Just doing its normal thing -- and being confusing. It's a wonder the prehistoric peoples ever figured it out!

Here's a link to a page which lists the daily Moonrise and Moonset for your location. (I'm not sure how, but that site knows where I live! But if your location doesn't come up automatically, you can enter your zip code or city and state.)
<a href="http://www.almanac.com/moon/rise">http://www.almanac.com/moon/rise</a>

This US Navy site will generate a yearlong Moonrise / Moonset table for any location on the planet (it may be easier to use).
<a href="http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneYear.php">http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneYear.php</a>

Donna Danna (12 March 2011)

The moon is not supposed to rise in the west according to the bottom of the astronomy page at http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=642 but I saw the crescent moon in the western sky around 7 p.m. on 3/08, and on 3/09.  On 3/10, the sky was too cloudy to see the moon, but I looked outside around 10:05 p.m. on the night of 3/11 and the quarter moon was in the western sky.  Did something change the orbit of the moon to cause it to rise in the western sky where it's not supposed to rise?  The sun is still rising in the east and setting in the west so Earth is still orbiting around the sun counterclockwise.  (The first thought that crossed my mind was did Planet X/Nibiru's gravitational pull change the orbit of the moon if Planet X/Nibiru really exists.)  If the moon is setting in the west, does that mean that the moon is now orbiting the Earth clockwise instead of counterclockwise?
The above website link tells where in the sky that the sun and the moon should rise and set according to the season of the year, and for the moon it also depends on what phase that the moon is in -- new moon, 1st quarter moon or full moon or 3rd quarter moon. In the northern hemisphere where I live, the moon can rise in the southeast and set in the southwest, or it can rise in the east and set in the west, or it can rise in the northeast, and set in the northwest, but the moon is not supposed to rise in the west nor does it set in the east.  Yet it is rising in the west.
So in what part of the sky is the moon rising in your area?  Does anyone have an explanation as to why the moon can be seen rising in the western sky?