This year, the moon is going to reach its last quarter phase on Tuesday, August 11th, at 04:44 UTC.
This last quarter moon is half-lit by the sunshine and half-covered in its own dark light. It starts to rise in the night time and appears at its peak in the sky around daybreak. In addition, it sets around noon.
The last quarter is a perfect opportunity to see yourself on a three-dimensional universe in space. Experience it just after the rise of the moon, shortly after the middle of the night. Therefore the lighted part points down, to the sun beneath your feet. The last quarter moon can be considered as a mirror of the planet you are living on. Think about how you are standing in the middle of Earth’s night side, in its midnight section.
On the last quarter of the moon, the lunar terminator – the shadow line that separates day and night – tells us where the sun sets on the moon.
Additionally, the last quarter of the moon can be viewed as guidance for Earth’s course of motion in orbit around the sun.
Also, when you gaze at the last quarter moon high in the sky before dawn, for instance, you see approximately along the course of Earth’s orbit, in a forward direction. The moon is in motion in orbit around the Sun with Earth and never stops. Yet, if we could somehow lock the moon in space… anchor it down, hold it still… The orbital speed of Earth of 18 miles per second would take us across space between us and the moon in just a few hours.
The best thing about using the moon as guidance for the motion of Earth is that you can do everywhere. For instance, from big cities.
When the moon orbits Earth, the phase switches in an orderly manner.
To sum up, the moon will hit its last quarter phase at 04:44 UTC this Tuesday. Over the next week, the moon will rise in the east. That will happen in the hours following midnight, becoming thinner each morning.