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Q:

Why does the moon rise later every night?

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Hi Aimers! The moon rises later each day because it is moving. In its orbit around the earth, the moon moves steadily eastward through the sky, making a full circuit in about a month. That's the opposite direction to the daily 24-hour movement of the sun and stars. Over one day, that monthly motion carries the moon to the point where it takes an extra 49 minutes, on average, for the spinning earth to catch up with the moon's new position each day. I say "on average" because latitude also affects how much later the moon rises from night to night. For you, in British Columbia, Canada, when the moon is moving northward in its orbit, the difference can be as little as 14 minutes a day. For example, on December 15th, the moon rises at 11:46 a.m. Next day it comes up at noon and on the 17th moonrise will be at 12:14 p.m. Conversely, when the moon is heading southward, the next moonrise can be as much as 1 hour 23 minutes later than the day before. Right now (November 28th, 2007) the moon ... more
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