Why does the moon appear stationary on some nights and on others you can clearly see it moving?

Hi. I am just a bit curious about this.

We know the moon rotates around the earth. Why does it appear to be stationary on some nights, and on other nights you can clearly see it move if you stay still enough to notice?

On the nights when the moon appears stationary, the moon seems to follow you, no matter where you move on the ground.

On nights when you can clearly see the moon move if you stay still enough to notice, the moon appears to be darting across the sky at a certain rate. This seems to be very noticeable when it's windy out, but not always. You can see the moon moving on some nights even if the clouds aren't.

Please help- thank you.

7 Answers

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  • 5 months ago

    Because you are the one moving.

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  • 5 months ago

    The apparent motion of the Moon is east to west at a rate, apparently slower than the motion of the Sun, which moves with the rotation of the Earth. So, there are two apparent directions. With the rotation of the Earth and opposite, slightly from west to east.

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  • 5 months ago

    Probably if you see it *close* to something - through the branches of a tree, next to a building or a mountain, you can see the speed with which the Earth rotates.

    If it's high in the sky, not close to anything stationary on Earth - you probably can't perceive of it moving... But, if you train a telescope on it, you can clearly see the moon track through the field of vision.

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  • Sharon
    Lv 6
    5 months ago

    It REVOLVES around the Earth. Rotation is about an axis.

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  • Clive
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    It doesn't. It only appears like that to you.

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  • 5 months ago

    The moon, like the earth, also spins on it's axis, though it always shows the same "face" to the earth. (so we always see the same side of the moon no matter what) On a clear day, you can see the effects of this "spin" because the moon's spin is faster than the spin of the earth on earth's axis (due to the moon having less mass and gravity than the earth), and this spin is about the same delta-velocity as the moon's 30-day orbit around the earth. Therefore, while we can see the movement on a clear day, the orbital path always catches up with this movement, therefore we never quite see the backside of the moon.

    • Clive
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      What's that got to do with the question?

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  • 5 months ago

    One thing you said, 'if you watch it long enough.' Break observation to a time span, you see the moon in a slight different place. Nearby objects stationary to the observer, you can see the movement like looking through a tree.

    Windy , the tree moves, this can give the illusion of faster or slower movement. Same with clouds.

    Same difference if you move relative to stationary objects, the moon seems to follow your movement.

    Earth rotates faster than the moon orbits, this can give the illusion the moon will move its diameter in about 12 seconds, but may rise 50 minutes later each night. Consider the moon is moving in orbit the same direction as the earth is rotating on its axis.

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