Have you ever been playing outside in the late afternoon and stopped to stare up into the sky? From time to time, you’ve probably noticed that sometimes you can see the Moon during the day. Have you ever thought this was odd, since usually the Moon can only be seen at night?

You probably already know that the Moon is not a star. In other words, it’s not a miniature version of the Sun. The Moon produces no light of its own like the Sun does. Instead, we see the Moon because of the Sun’s light it reflects back to our eyes.

In fact, the Moon reflects so much of the Sun’s light that it’s the second brightest object in the sky after the Sun. Even though it’s not even close to as bright as the Sun, the Moon is still 100,000 times brighter than the next brightest nighttime star!

The Moon is also big and much closer to the Earth than the nearest celestial objects in the sky. Given its size and nearness to Earth, it’s easy to see why the Moon can be seen so easily at night. That also explains, though, why we can sometimes even see it during the day.

Usually, the Sun’s light is so bright that it makes it impossible to see less bright, far away objects in the sky. These objects — other planets and stars — can usually only be seen at night when the Sun’s light doesn’t outshine them. They’re still there. You just can’t see them with the naked eye, because the Sun’s bright light is all you can see.

The Moon, though, is so big and so bright and so close to the Earth, that it can sometimes be seen even during the day. The Moon is not always in the same place in the sky all the time. During the lunar cycle, the Moon is sometimes closer to the Sun and sometimes farther away from the Sun.

When the Moon approaches its New Moon phase, it’s closest to the Sun and can be seen more easily during the day, because it reflects even more of the Sun’s light back to Earth.

 

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    • Way to go, Samuel! We’re glad you stopped by today’s Wonder and learned some awesome new facts about the moon with us! Have a WONDERful day! :-)

  1. Yay! :D I was also right. Today’s wonder of the day is about the moon. I loved today’s wonder! :D I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day is about absorbing.

    Friday, June 1, 2012 was my 1st day of summer break. Thursday, May 31, 2012 was my last day of school. Now I can comment on Wonderopolis everyday (except for the days I am really busy). :) I live in Dublin, Ohio. Aren’t the people in Ohio so lucky?

    TJ

    • Hi, TJ! Happy Summer Break! Yes, we think you and your Ohio Wonder Friends are super lucky that your vacation has started, but we think WE are the lucky ones here in Wonderopolis because that means we get a visit from you every day now (except when you are super busy). We are all in for some EXTRA AWESOME WONDERing this summer! We’re glad you will be WONDERing with us! :-)

    • We’re so super glad that you liked today’s Wonder, “A!” Thank you for stopping by Wonderopolis! YOU ROCK! :-)

  2. I thought the video was kind of boring.
    But the moon looks COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I don’t know what tomorrow’s WONDER is.
    What could the WONDER be????????????????????

    • Thanks for letting us know what you thought about the video for today’s Wonder, Rachel! We appreciate your opinion and your comment! We agree that the moon looks cool…we especially like WONDERing about seeing it in the sky during the day! We WONDER what tomorrow’s Wonder might be about, too! :-)

  3. Yes! I was right. You could see the moon in the daytime. Because I was practicing baseball with my dad outside and saw part of the moon.

    • That’s really cool that you saw part of the moon in the daytime just like the hiker in the video for today’s Wonder, AJ! Thank you for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • We think it ROCKS that you had background knowledge about today’s MOON Wonder, Caelah! Thanks for letting us know and THANKS for being a friend of Wonderopolis! :-)

    • Thanks for leaving us a COOL comment to let us know you thought today’s Wonder was COOL, Wonder Girl! We hope you have a GREAT weekend, too! :-)

    • We think that guess is AWESOME, Wonder Girl! We can’t wait to visit Wonderopolis tomorrow to see if your guess is correct! :-)

  4. I think that when you can see the moon in the nighttime, that it’s really cool. I can’t believe that the moon and sun can do that. I think that tomorrow’s wonder will be about towels or wash cloths. Have a WONDERful day.

    • We agree, Becca…it IS really cool to see the moon at night, too! We think the moon is cool any time of the day or night! Thanks for sharing your idea for tomorrow’s Wonder! We like it a lot and those are definitely two things that absorb! :-)

  5. I knew that today’s wonder wasn’t about stars, because they are out in the day, too but you can’t see them.

    I WONDER why you capitalized ZORB in abzorbing.

    =D

    • Hmmmm… We WONDER why the word, “ZORB,” is capitalized inside “abZORBing,” too, fishbreath22! We’re excited to learn something new tomorrow, aren’t you? :-)

    • Thanks for asking such an AWESOME question, Kate! If you visit the “Phases of the Moon” link inside today’s Wonder, you can learn more about the “New Moon” phase. It’s easier to see the moon in the daytime when it is approaching the New Moon phase, because it is closer to the sun and reflects more light! :-)

    • Hello, Caelah! Thanks so much for sharing another awesome comment with us today! The sun’s light is reflected off of the surface of the moon. So, the moon reflects the sun’s light. That’s what makes the moon appear so super bright in our night sky and also makes is possible for us to see it in the daytime once in a while, too! :-)

    • Not every morning, Haley! You are more likely to see the moon in the morning sky if the moon is nearing the “New Moon” phase. You can learn more about the “Phases of the Moon” by exploring the links in today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  6. Oops! I meant to say that I was wrong because I thought today’s wonder is about the stars and this is about the moon, so I was actually wrong. :( I also think tomorrow’s wonder will be about absorbing. Hopefully I will really be right this time. ;)

    • That’s OK, Samuel! We liked your guess about the stars, too! The sky is full of WONDER, isn’t it? We really like your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder, too! Thanks for hanging out with us in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  7. Oops! I also meant to say that I was wrong because I also thought today’s wonder of the day is about the stars and this is about the moon, so I was also actually wrong. :(

    Guess what? I will be going to the Columbus Zoo tomorrow. :D

    • We like your guess about the stars, TJ! We think it’s super cool and coincidental how you and Wonder Friend, Samuel, comment almost the same things at the same time! We also think it’s SUPER cool that you are going to the zoo tomorrow…be sure to share all the AWESOME things you learn and WONDER about while you’re there! We can’t wait to hear all about your adventure! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing some of your knowledge about the moon, Amos! We like it when our Wonder Friends add something extra AWESOME to a Wonder of the Day® with their comments! Great job! :-)

  8. Has anyone been to the dark side of the moon. How many weeks does it take for the moon to get to a full moon?

    • Those are both SUPER questions about the moon, Dilan and Colby! We’re proud of you two for WONDERing more about today’s Wonder! We’re not sure about the dark side of the moon question (we’ll all have to do some more WONDERing on our own about that one), but we think if you explore some of the links found inside today’s Wonder (click on the colorful text links), you will find the answer to your question about the length of time for the phases of the moon, including a Full Moon! :-)

  9. Dear wonderopolis
    Today’s wonder didn’t really have much talking, but it was cool! I am one of Mrs. Ouverson’s 4 grade class from Buffalo, Minnesota.

    • We’re so glad you stopped by Wonderopolis to learn some cool new facts about the moon with us today, Wonder Man! We’re proud of you for WONDERing on the weekend, and we bet Mrs. Ouverson will be, also! Thanks for letting us know what you thought about today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • We like that guess a lot, Wonder Man! Thanks for sharing your idea about what you think we’ll be WONDERing with tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • Thanks for letting us know you enjoyed exploring this Wonder of the Day®, Tahj! We think your comment is COOL! :-)

    • Hi there, Nit-Nat! Thanks so much for sharing that you liked this Wonder of the Day®! We appreciate hearing that! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :-)

  10. Hello, Wonderopolis, I am having a great summer! We are watching my cousin. You can see the moon in the day. When I first knew you could see the moon in the day, I was shocked. My dad let me look at the moon once, it was cool. Have a WONDERful day, Wonderopolis.

    • We’re so happy that you are having a WONDERful summer so far, Olivia! Thank you for sharing that you are watching your cousin..we bet that’s a lot of FUN! It was awesome to hear about you seeing the moon during the daytime for the first time. Thanks for letting us know about that! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts about seeing the moon in the daytime and the nighttime, Kylie! We’re glad you stopped by this Wonder of the Day® and left us a WONDERful comment! :-)

  11. I think if this is a learning place for students should the answers be written in correct spelling? There is many misspelled words.

    • Sorry about that, Wonder Friend! Please let us know when you discover a misspelled word, and we will be sure to change it.

      However, you may be seeing the red dotted line under certain words, and think that means it is misspelled. Those are our Wonder Words. If you hover your cursor over that word, it will give you the definition. Cool, huh? Thanks for WONDERing with us! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Can you only see the Moon at night?
  • Why is it hard to see the Moon and other celestial objects during the day?
  • How bright is the Sun’s light reflected by the Moon?

 

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

What will the Moon look like in the nighttime sky tonight? Check out Phases of the Moon online to learn more about the different phases of the Moon and what you can expect to see if you look for the Moon in the sky tonight.

If you think you might like to go to the Moon someday, you can start to prepare now for your future trip by taking this fun online virtual tour of the Moon. You can also download Google Earth to take a 3D virtual tour of the Moon!

What do you think would be the most fun part of going to the Moon? Talk with a friend or a parent about what you might want to pack for your journey. Have fun just dreaming together about what a trip to the Moon might be like!

 

Still Wondering

Check out Science NetLinks’ Sky 4: The Moon lesson to learn how to draw the moon’s shape for each evening on a calendar and then determine the pattern in the shapes over several weeks.

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Tags

astronomy  day  light  lunar  Moon  new moon  night  planet  star  Sun 

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