Moon Phases and Bass Fishing - Earth Perspective
If you observed the moon every day, you would notice that it rises in the east and sets in the west approximately 30 minutes to an hour later every day. In actuality, it is the earth that is turning every day and not the moon. I will discuss what is really happening in my article on "understanding moons". However, knowing what the moon does from the perspective of an observer on the earth may be more useful. For purposes of this article, I will write about what appears to be happening.
On the night of the full moon, the moon rises at about the same time the sun sets. It also sets at about the same time as the sun rises in the morning. So, on the night of the full moon, not only do you have the whole moon but you also have it all night long.
Conversely, on the night of the new (dark) moon, it rises at daybreak and sets at sundown. So, if you could see the new moon, you would only see it during the day.
After the new (dark) moon, every day the moon gets a little fuller and comes out a little later. About a week after the new moon, there will be a half moon that comes out in the middle of the day and sets in the middle of the night. After another week of getting fuller and coming out later, we will have a full moon rising about sundown and setting at sunup.
After the full moon, it will start getting smaller again and rising later every night. A week or so after the full moon, the half moon will rise in the middle of the night and set in the middle of the day.
This process repeats itself continuously. Every 29 1/2 days or so the moon will go from new (dark) to full and back to dark again. Since our calendar month is slightly more than 29 1/2 days, the full moon is approximately a day or so earlier every month.
When the half moon is getting fuller, it will be shaped like a "D" (with the lighted side on the right). When it is getting smaller, it will be shaped like a "C" (with the lighted side on the left). So, a way to remember if the full moon is approaching or going away is to remember the word DOC (the O meaning full).
Another way to tell if the full moon is approaching or going away is when you see it. If you see a moon in the evening (before dark), you can be assured that it will get even fuller the next day. If you see a moon in the morning (after sunup), you can bet that it will be getting even smaller.