I was wondering, as the Moon moves across the night sky, at midnight, when the Moon is overhead, how long does it technically stay over head before moving to the other side of the night sky?

I was doing research as best I can but I only found that Midnight lasts for one minute or that it is only a brief moment before it moves from overhead, but I believe there is more to it, unless anyone can help clarify.

  • $\begingroup$ Midnight is an instant in time, it has no duration. FWIW, the apparent rotation of the sky carries the Moon through a distance equal to the Moon's diameter (about half a degree) in about 2 minutes. $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Mar 6 at 10:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The Sun causes a precession of Moon's orbit with a period of roughly 18.6 years. As result, there's a major standstill - highest orbital inclination - and a minor standstill - lowest orbital inclination roughly every 9.3 years. Check out the Navajo's astronomical clock at Fajada Butte, New Mexico. $\endgroup$ – Cinaed Simson Jul 19 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ I will, thank you guys for commenting $\endgroup$ – C. Jordan Jul 19 at 11:27

The Earth is constantly rotating, and the Moon is orbiting the Earth, so the Moon is in constant motion across the sky. It is at any position in the sky for only an instant. It does not stand still for a minute at midnight or any other time. It is also often not even in the night sky at midnight.

  • $\begingroup$ I understand that, But what I wish to know is when it does appear overhead, how long does it usually stay there while still moving before it no longer remains overhead? $\endgroup$ – C. Jordan Mar 5 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking how many hours is it above the horizon? If so, that is quite complicated. $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Mar 5 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ Let us put it like this, on a night where a moon moved directly across the sky in the middle, how long would that be in time, hours, minutes, whatever. $\endgroup$ – C. Jordan Mar 5 at 17:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @C.Jordan "overhead" and "middle" are not well defined. If you could specify where that begins and ends, then you could determine when the moon is within those boundaries. Otherwise different people might have different ideas of the extent. $\endgroup$ – BowlOfRed Mar 5 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the response, this helps me understand much $\endgroup$ – C. Jordan Jul 19 at 3:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.