Rhythms of the Moon


When you think about the rhythms of the moon, the first things that come to mind are the words "waning and waxing moon," "full moon," and "new moon." In reality, there are five different rhythms the moon is going through. This article will help you to understand them.

The synodic moon

The synodic moon is actually referring to the moon phases. A synodical period is the time it takes for the moon to reach the same angular distance from the Sun, viewed from Earth - in simple terms, it is the time from one new moon to the next new moon. On average, it takes 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2 seconds.

The sidereal moon

A sidereal period is the time the moon needs for a complete orbit of the earth. In contrast to the appearance of the moon, the position of the moon is now important. It is determined by the fixed stars of the sky. On average, the time span is 27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes and 11 seconds. The different times result from the fact that the earth is moving around the sun, which forces the moon to move even more.

The tropical moon

The tropical rhythm refers to the ascending and descending moon. Often the terms are confused with the waxing and waning moon. However, it is the height of the moon in the sky, so the angle to the horizon. This means, for example, that the moon can increase and descend at the same time. The visible area becomes larger, while the apparent distance to the horizon becomes smaller.

The draconian moon

The draconian moon refers to the Lunar Nodes; those are the intersections of the lunar orbit with the ecliptic. The ecliptic is the assumed orbit on which the sun moves, observed from the earth. It is also identified as a zodiac and has been divided into 12 equally sized sections, which are occupied by the Signs of the Zodiac, since antiquity.

In a rising lunar node (☊), the moon changes from the southern to the northern side of the ecliptic, the descending lunar node (☋) is the other way round. The draconian month is the time from one passage through the rising lunar node to the next.

The anomalous moon

The actual distance of the moon to Earth is important for the anomalous moon. As the orbit of the moon is sometimes closer and further away from the earth, the distance changes daily. The next-to-Earth point is defined as perigee and the most remote as apogee. On average, in one period from one perigee or apogee to the next one, 27 days, 13 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds pass.