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As the Moon reaches a major lunar standstill in early 2025, there will be opportunities to see the Moon rising and setting over the standing stones marking the extreme possibilities on these dates. The exact dates depend on your longitude, and the azimuths I've entered into the table below are calculated for the Sunwheel. The dates of these extremes should be similar within a timezone or two from Amherst, but the Moon moves fast (as much in one day as the Sun in almost 2 weeks!), so my tabulation will not work for everyone.

I've found the 10* most extreme northern and southern moonrises and moonsets that are coming up at the Sunwheel. These can happen anytime of day or night, depending on the Moon's phase, and some will be difficult or impossible to see if the Moon is near its New phase. The ones marked in red are the most extreme, and the others are within about half the Moon's diameter of being as extreme. (I do not list the rising or setting azimuths for less extreme cases.)

The most extreme moonsets will be in September 2024, and the most extreme moonrises in March 2025 all of which will be close to when the Moon is at first or- third-quarter phase.

The closest we will get to a full moon setting at one of the extremes is November 18, 2024. You can tell that from the table because the Moon is 92.1% illuminated. It will be setting at an azimuth of 309.9 deg, which is in the northwest. Reading across the table, the time the Moon sets that day is 10:12 a.m. Because the tabulated times do not account for the local topography, the Moon will set about 15 minutes earlier than the listed time. (Likewise, moonrises will occur about 15 minutes later than the listed moonrise times.)

I will be organizing some events, probably when an extreme moonrise or moonset is in the evening so we can also look at constellations. Stay tuned!

---Steve Schneider

*There were some ties for 10th place, so as many as 12 dates are given.

If you are interested in figuring out the dates for your own location, here is what I did: I consulted tables of rising and setting lunar azimuths from the National Weather Service for the nearest city they included to the Sunwheel, spanning about a year before and after the date of maximum lunar orbital angle in early '25. Each month I looked for the most northerly and southerly moonrises and moonsets. Then I checked with a planetarium program (I use Stellarium, which is free) to find the azimuths from the Sunwheel's location.


  A project conceived by Dr. Judith S. Young
 Professor of Astronomy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
 e-mail: Steve Schneider

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