First Quarter, Moon phase of Wednesday, December 4th, 2019
Tonight's actual moon phase and image of the moon (Moon phase tonight)
This page shows the image of today's/tonight's actual moon phase and allows you to follow the moon phases or moon cycles as they are also called.
A first quarter moon looks like half a pie. It rises at noon and is high overhead at sunset. It sets around midnight.
First quarter moon comes a week after new moon. Now, as seen from above, the moon in its orbit around Earth is at right angles to a line between the Earth and sun.
A first quarter moon is called "first quarter" because it is one quarter of the way around in its orbit of Earth, as measured from one new moon to the next. Also, although some people call this a "half moon," and although it really does appear half-lit to us, it's good to recall that the illuminated portion of a first quarter moon truly is just a quarter. On the night of first quarter moon, we see half the moon's day side, or a TRUE quarter of the moon. Another lighted quarter of the moon shines just as brightly in the direction opposite Earth!
Read more at EarthSky.org
Interactive moon phases tool
Ready to explore other moon phases? This tool shows the current moon phase and allows you to shift the phases and see how the moon is illuminated at each phase.
Diagram explaining the moon phases
This diagram shows the relative positions of the Sun, the Moon and earth and explains how the different moon phases appear.
The visible part of the moon is the part of the moon's surface that gets hit by the sunlight. The rest of the moon disc is almost invisible.
The moon phases are not caused by the shadow of the earth on to the moon. It is the moon's own shadow at the part of its surface that is not hit by the sunlight.
In other words, the visible "sunny" part is made of the places where there is "day" on the moon and the shadow part is where there is "night".