Moon phases May 2024: What is the moon phase today?

Moon phases for today and the rest of May 2024
Moon phases for today and the rest of May 2024. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

What is the moon phase today?

Today, on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, the moon is in the waning gibbous phase and is 21 days old. On this day, the moon is 63% illuminated, according to NASA. It is the day before the third quarter moon.

Waning gibbous: May 23 at 13:53 UTC to May 30 at 17:13 UTC

Waning gibbous moon
The waning gibbous moon is the sixth phase of the lunar cycle. (Image credit: NASA)

Phase: Sixth phase of the lunar cycle out of eight phases.

Illuminated area: Decreases from 99.9% to 50.1%.

Moon orientation: More than left half of the moon is illuminated in the Northern Hemisphere and more than right half of the moon is illuminated in the Southern Hemisphere.

Phase type: Secondary or intermediate

Rise time: Evening (between sunset and midnight) | Set time: Morning (between sunrise and noon)

Duration: Around 7 days. A waning gibbous moon starts right after the full moon and lasts until it becomes a third quarter moon.

Moon age: Greater than two weeks but less than three weeks.

When and where to see: Look east in the late evening and west in the early morning

Main article: All you need to know about the waning gibbous moon

Third quarter (half moon): May 30 at 17:13 UTC

Third quarter moon
The third quarter moon is the seventh phase of the lunar cycle. (Image credit: NASA)

Phase: Seventh phase of the lunar cycle out of eight phases.

Illuminated area: 50%

Moon orientation: Left half of the moon is illuminated in the Northern Hemisphere and right half of the moon is illuminated in the Southern Hemisphere.

Phase type: Primary

Rise time: Around midnight | Set time: Around noon

Duration: A third quarter moon has no duration as it occurs at a precise moment in time.

Moon age: About three weeks

When and where to see: Look overhead in the early morning

Main article: All you need to know about the third quarter moon

Waning crescent: May 30 at 17:13 UTC to June 6 at 12:38 UTC

Waning crescent moon
The waning crescent moon is the eighth phase of the lunar cycle. (Image credit: NASA)

Phase: Eighth phase of the lunar cycle out of eight phases.

Illuminated area: Decreases from 49.9% to 0.1%.

Moon orientation: Left side of the moon is illuminated in the Northern Hemisphere and right side of the moon is illuminated in the Southern Hemisphere.

Phase type: Secondary or intermediate

Rise time: After midnight (between midnight and sunrise) | Set time: Afternoon (between noon and sunset)

Duration: Around 7 days. A waning crescent moon starts right after the third quarter moon and lasts until it becomes a new moon.

Moon age: Greater than three weeks but less than four weeks

When and where to see: Look east before sunrise

Main article: All you need to know about the waning crescent moon

New moon: June 6 at 12:38 UTC

New moon
The new moon is the first phase of the lunar cycle. (Image credit: NASA)

Phase: First phase of the lunar cycle out of eight phases.

Illuminated area: 0%

Phase type: Primary

Rise time: Around sunrise | Set time: Around sunset

Duration: A new moon has no duration as it occurs at a precise moment in time.

Moon age: Zero

When and where to see: The invisible phase of the moon. A new moon is only visible during a solar eclipse.

Main article: All you need to know about the new moon

Waxing crescent: June 6 at 12:38 UTC to June 14 at 05:18 UTC

Waxing crescent moon
The waxing crescent moon is the second phase of the lunar cycle. (Image credit: NASA)

Phase: Second phase of the lunar cycle out of eight phases.

Illuminated area: Increases from 0.1% to 49.9%

Moon orientation: Right side of the moon is illuminated in the Northern Hemisphere and left side of the moon is illuminated in the Southern Hemisphere.

Phase type: Secondary or intermediate

Rise time: Morning (between sunrise and noon) | Set time: Evening (between sunset and midnight)

Duration: Around 7 days. A waxing crescent moon starts right after the new moon and lasts until it becomes a first quarter moon.

Moon age: Greater than zero but less than a week.

When and where to see: Look west after sunset

Main article: All you need to know about the waxing crescent moon

First quarter (half moon): June 14 at 05:18 UTC

First quarter moon
The first quarter moon is the third phase of the lunar cycle. (Image credit: NASA)

Phase: Third phase of the lunar cycle out of eight phases.

Illuminated area: 50%

Moon orientation: Right half of the moon is illuminated in the Northern Hemisphere and left half of the moon is illuminated in the Southern Hemisphere.

Phase type: Primary

Rise time: Around noon | Set time: Around midnight

Duration: A first quarter moon has no duration as it occurs at a precise moment in time.

Moon age: About a week

When and where to see: Look overhead in the early evening

Main article: All you need to know about the first quarter moon

Waxing gibbous: June 14 at 05:18 UTC to June 22 at 01:08 UTC

Waxing gibbous moon
The waxing gibbous moon is the fourth phase of the lunar cycle. (Image credit: NASA)

Phase: Fourth phase of the lunar cycle out of eight phases.

Illuminated area: Increases from 50.1% to 99.9%

Moon orientation: More than right half of the moon is illuminated in the Northern Hemisphere and more than left half of the moon is illuminated in the Southern Hemisphere.

Phase type: Secondary or intermediate

Rise time: Afternoon (between noon and sunset) | Set time: After midnight (between midnight and sunrise)

Duration: Around 7 days. A waxing gibbous moon starts right after the first quarter moon and lasts until it becomes a full moon.

Moon age: Greater than a week but less than two weeks.

When and where to see: Look east in the early evening and west after midnight

Main article: All you need to know about the waxing gibbous moon

Full moon: June 22 at 01:08 UTC

Full moon
The full moon is the fifth phase of the lunar cycle. (Image credit: NASA)

Phase: Fifth phase of the lunar cycle out of eight phases.

Illuminated area: 100%

Phase type: Primary

Rise time: Around sunset | Set time: Around sunrise

Duration: A full moon has no duration as it occurs at a precise moment in time.

Moon age: About two weeks

When and where to see: Look east in the early evening (after sunset), overhead around midnight and west in the early morning (before sunrise)

Main article: All you need to know about the full moon

Understanding the phases of the moon

The moon doesn’t have its own light. The sun illuminates the moon’s surface. So the moonlight we see is actually reflected sunlight.

Moon's orbit around the Earth.
See how different positions of the moon in its orbit create its phases. (Image credit: NASA)

The sun always illuminates one hemisphere of the moon, as the moon is a globe. So for the sun, it is always a full moon.

However, for the earth, it’s not always a full moon. We see different illuminated portions of the moon, i.e., different phases of the moon, as it orbits the earth.

The moon takes 29.531 days to orbit the earth with respect to the sun. This is called a lunar cycle. In a lunar cycle, the moon goes through the following phases in order: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, and waning crescent.

All the phases of the Moon in a lunar phase cycle.
All eight phases of the moon in the lunar cycle. (Image credit: NASA/Bill Dunford)

New moon: A new moon occurs when the moon is in inferior conjunction with the sun, i.e., it moves in front of the sun with respect to us. It is the invisible phase of the moon, as the side of the moon that faces us gets no light from the sun.

Waxing crescent: After a new moon, we see the first visible phase of the moon, called the waxing crescent. During a waxing crescent moon, the illuminated area of the moon grows day after day until it becomes a first quarter moon.

First quarter: About one week after the new moon, we see a half-illuminated moon in the sky. However, we call it a first quarter moon as it moves exactly one quarter area in its orbit around the earth.

Waxing gibbous: After the first quarter moon, the illuminated area of the moon continues to grow until it becomes a full moon. During this time, more than a half-illuminated area of the moon is seen in the sky, and we call it the waxing gibbous moon.

Full moon: About two weeks after the new moon, we see one hemisphere (full disk) of the moon, called a full moon. During this time, the moon is in opposition with the sun, i.e., it moves on the opposite side of the sun with respect to us, and we see the entire side of the moon that faces us.

Waning gibbous: After a full moon, the illuminated area of the moon shrinks day after day until it becomes a third quarter moon, called a waning gibbous moon.

Third quarter: About three weeks after the new moon or about one week after the full moon, we see another half-illuminated moon (opposite half compared to the first quarter) in the sky. However, we call it a third quarter moon, as it moves exactly three-quarters of its orbit around the earth at this time.

Waning crescent: After the third quarter moon, the illuminated area of the moon continues to shrink until it becomes a new moon again, called a waning crescent moon.

Moon phases calendar in 2024

Here are the dates and times (in UTC) of all the moon phases in 2024, according to NASA:

New moonFirst quarterFull moonThird quarter
January 4, 03:30
January 11, 11:57January 18, 03:53January 25, 17:54February 2, 23:18
February 9, 22:59February 16, 15:01February 24, 12:30March 3, 15:24
March 10, 09:00March 17, 04:11March 25, 07:00April 2, 03:15
April 8, 18:21April 15, 19:13April 23, 23:49May 1, 11:27
May 8, 03:22May 15, 11:48May 23, 13:53May 30, 17:13
June 6, 12:38June 14, 05:18June 22, 01:08June 28, 21:53
July 5, 22:57July 13, 22:49July 21, 10:17July 28, 02:51
August 4, 11:13August 12, 15:19August 19, 18:26August 26, 09:26
September 3, 01:55September 11, 06:06September 18, 02:34September 24, 18:50
October 2, 18:49October 10, 18:55October 17, 11:26October 24, 08:03
November 1, 12:47November 9, 05:56November 15, 21:29November 23, 01:28
December 1, 06:21December 8, 15:27December 15, 09:02December 22, 22:18
December 30, 22:27

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About the Author

Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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