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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 1999 -- 45 MINUTES AFTER SUNSET LOOKING SOUTHWEST. In November, Steve Ludwig in Phoenix asked whether -- on any single day -- you can tell if the moon is "waning" or "waxing" just by looking at it. The answer to that is yes, and I gave a long-winded explanation a month ago on what to look for. Since then, I've heard from a couple of fellow skywatchers with much more succinct explanations than mine! Sally Lieb in Florida wrote, "A friend once told me . . . a waxing moon looks like a b (rounded side on the right) while a waning moon looks like a d (rounded side on the left)." And David Auker in Portland, Oregon, wrote, "I think . . . I remember an easy bit of a poem that goes something like 'moon's horns pointing west: moon heading towards rest; horns pointing east: its size will be increased."' Yeah! Thanks, Sally and David! I hope Steve Ludwig is reading. By the way, if you see the moon this evening, notice that it looks like a "b" (rounded on the right). Its horns are pointing east. Voila! It's a waxing moon.
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