I came across a question in which moon's highest altitude had to be calculated as seen from a certain latitude, also the month and the hour and the constellation in which moon would be in had to be calculated......

I could not understand why or how would moons path change during the year

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Is it clear why the sun's path in the sky changes during the year? $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Apr 20, 2019 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ Yes is it because of the same reason? $\endgroup$
    – Danish
    Apr 20, 2019 at 16:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ pretty much, there are some other motions of the moon's orbit (it does actually shift due to the pertubation) but the reason the full moon is low in summer and high in winter is exactly the same as the reason the sun in high in summer and low in winter. Think you can self answer this question? $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Apr 20, 2019 at 17:02
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    $\begingroup$ Not only the maximum elevation (declination) changes during the year, but the maximum which can be reached in the year also changes, according to a 18-year cycle, from 18° to 29° of elevation. See lunar standstill $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Nov 11, 2022 at 0:36

1 Answer 1


The moon's orbit around the Earth is inclined at about 5° to the ecliptic So as the Earth progresses in its own orbit around the sun, the moon's altitude also changes

During summers the part of the orbit on the other side of the Earth(night side) is below the ecliptic. While during winters it is the upper part which is on the night side

Moon's orbit is inclined to the ecliptic


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There are 4 planes involved here: the local horizon, the equatorial plane, the ecliptic, and the Moon's orbital plane. You can improve your answer by clarifying the roles of these planes on the Moon's altitude. And you should probably learn about the precession of the Moon's nodes and lunar standstill. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Apr 22, 2019 at 6:33

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