How to learn to find north using moon phases? I'm looking for easy-to-remember rule of thumb, at best some simple graphic.

It's quite trivial by full moon. Since full moon is in direct opposition to the sun, at the midnight it will be exactly on south.

Some time ago someone have explained to me how to navigate when the moon is in other phase, using the term of C-shaped and D-shaped moon, with deviation from north at midnight depending on how C- or how D- was that phase. He have made a sketch on the sand. I should have made photo or drawing of it, but I haven't thought about it and now I have problems finding similar sketch or similar rule of the thumb in internet.

  • 2
    (or directly on north, if you are in the southern hemisphere, or of no use at all if you are on the equator :-)
    – Rory Alsop
    Sep 5, 2013 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


I don't believe such an easy method exists you can keep in your head and calculate.

The position of the moon relative to you depends on accurate knowledge of the phase of the moon, time of day, and latitude and longitude of where you are, and those interact in a nonlinear manner.

Your original claim isn't even true in all places. The moons rotation is between 18 and 25° from the equator, and navigation in there will not always fulfill your claim.

If you can see the moon, you should be able to see the stars, at least Polaris (or southern hemisphere equivalent), and that will be a better method and more reliable.


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