Watch the 1st half-lit first quarter moon of 2023 rise tonight

An illustration of the first quarter moon as it will appear in the sky on Saturday (Jan. 28).
An illustration of the first quarter moon as it will appear in the sky on Saturday (Jan. 28). (Image credit: Starry Night Software)

On Saturday, Jan. 28, skywatchers will be able to see the year's first first quarter moon, when the moon appears to be half-lit from the perspective of Earth.

Across the United States, the moon will rise in the late morning and be visible until it sets around midnight some 13 or 14 hours later, depending on your specific location. In New York City, the moon will rise at 10:53 a.m. EST (1553 GMT) and set at 12:40 a.m. EST (0540 GMT) on Jan. 29, according to skywatching site

Though you may be able to see the moon during sunlight hours, the best time to take a look is after the sun sets. Sunset in New York City occurs at 5:07 p.m. EST (1007 GMT). At that point, the moon will be 62 degrees high in the southeast sky. (Remember: Your fist held out at arm's length equals roughly 10 degrees in the sky.)

Related: What is the moon phase today? Lunar phases 2023


A Celestron telescope on a white background

(Image credit: Celestron)

Want to observe the features of the first quarter moon up close? We recommend the Celestron Astro Fi 102 as the top pick in our best beginner's telescope guide. Don't forget a moon filter!

The first quarter phase is one of four in the moon's cycle as it orbits Earth, which lasts 29.5 days. This month, we have already experienced the three other phases: A full moon on Jan. 6, a last quarter moon on Jan. 14, and a new moon on Jan. 21, which marked the Lunar New Year commonly celebrated around the world.

Next up for lunar observers will be the full Snow Moon on Feb. 5, but before then, you'll have a chance to see a comet. Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is now visible in the night sky, and it will reach perigee, or its closest point to Earth during its orbit, on Feb. 1.

If you're interested in taking photographs of the moon during its first quarter, check out our helpful how to photograph the moon guide for the best lunar photography tips and tricks. We also have guides to the best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography if you need to gear up for this or other celestial events, including the close approach of comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF).

Editor's Note: If you snap the moon during its first quarter phase and would like to share it with's readers, send your photo(s), comments, and your name and location to

Follow Stefanie Waldek on Twitter @StefanieWaldek.  Follow us @Spacedotcom, or on Facebook and Instagram. 

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Stefanie Waldek
Contributing writer contributing writer Stefanie Waldek is a self-taught space nerd and aviation geek who is passionate about all things spaceflight and astronomy. With a background in travel and design journalism, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University, she specializes in the budding space tourism industry and Earth-based astrotourism. In her free time, you can find her watching rocket launches or looking up at the stars, wondering what is out there. Learn more about her work at