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moon Does the moon look the same in different countries?

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As the moon orbits the earth, we see the sunlit part of the moon.

The Moon orbits near the equator of the Earth.

People in different hemispheres see the moon in a slightly different way.
In the Southern Hemisphere, people see the moon 'upside down' so the side which is shining (sunlit) seems the opposite from the Northern Hemisphere.

Phases of the moon as seen in the Northern Hemisphere
Phases of the moon as seen in the Northern Hemisphere


Phases of the moon as seen in the Southern Hemisphere

Countries in the different hemispheres see the Moon from a completely different vantage point from each other.

In the northern hemisphere the first quarter looks like a growing D, while in the southern hemisphere it looks like a C.

In the northern hemisphere the last quarter looks like a C, while in the southern hemisphere looks like a D.


In the Northern Hemisphere the sunlit part of the moon moves from right to left.

DOC (D first quarter O full Moon C last quarter)

Northern Hemisphere
Moon as seen in the Southern Hemisphere

In the Southern Hemisphere the sunlit part moves from the left to the right.

C O D (C first quarter O full Moon D last quarter)

The images below show what the moon phases are like in each hemisphere.
The side of the Moon and its phases vary depending on our location on Earth.

Northern Hemisphere

Phases of the moon as seen in the Northern Hemisphere
February 2010

Southern Hemisphere

Phases of the moon as seen in the Southern Hemisphere
February 2010

Northern Hemisphere - Clockwise
The moon is seen in the south. East, where the sun and moon rises, is to the left, and west (sunset and moonset) is on the right. In the northern hemisphere the apparent movement of the sun and the moon is from left to right throughout the hours.

Southern Hemisphere - anti-clockwise
The moon is seen in the north. Facing the moon, the east is on the right and west on the left. The sun and the moon seem to move across the sky from right to left.

What is the Moon like at the equator?

In places close to the equator:

  • the first quarter will have the shape of the letter n (inverted U) when it rises, and the shape of letter U when it sets.
  • the last quarter would seem like the shape of letter U when it rises and the shape of the letter n (inverted U) when it sets.
Facts about the Moonnext page
previous pageTips for Moon watching and times
Message from one of our visitors:
While watching the coverage of the F1 motor race which took place in Melborne, Australia, I noted that the moon was the wrong way up. I asked my brother-in-law (who usually knows everything) but he was unable to explain, so I went online and searched through Google.

Thank you very much I really enjoyed reading your pages and now I can say I know what was always puzzling me all along.

Many thanks

Sue N
icon moon Introduction to phases icon moon Tips for Moon watching
icon moon Shapes of the Moon icon moon Moon around the world
icon moon Time to see each phase icon moon Facts about the Moon
icon moon Moon Calendar 2010 icon moon Moon animation


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