What regions of the Earth does the Moon pass DIRECTLY overhead?

Please note, I am NOT looking for the ground path of the Moon's shadow. I am interested in the imaginary line drawn from the center of the Earth to the center of the Moon and how that line traces on the surface of the Earth.

I realize that the ground path of the Moon varies over time, but even a wide swath of possibilities would be helpful (e.g. +/- 20 degrees latitude).

An image such as this would be particularly helpful:



Thanks for the answers!

Do you know if the Moon eventually orbits over the entire +\- 28 degrees? Or does it oscillate between two orbital boundaries/extremes that leave a portion of the region permanently "non-sublunar?"

5 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I get plus or minus 28 degrees 53', over a 18.6 year cycle. Eventually it will cover the whole region, but it will take many thousands of years (depending on how close you consider it has to get to a point to cover it.)

    Basically, the sublunar point goes smoothly from a maximum north latitude to a maximum south latitude and back again every orbit (27.32 days). The latitude extremes drift slowly over 18.6 years, from about 17.75 degrees to 28.88 degrees and back to 17.75 degrees.

  • Anon
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Tham is almost correct.

    The moon orbits the Earth at directly +/-5 Degrees to Earth's Equator.

    This is irrrespective to the Celestial Equator or Earths Orbit with the Sun.

    Earth and the Moon are almost on their own plane.

  • 7 years ago

    The orbit of the moon round the earth is in a plane very similar to that of the earth round the sun. The result is that the moon and the sun follow very similar paths (although at very different rates) through the sky. In other words, to a reasonable approximation, the zones of the earth for which the moon can be overhead are, to a first approximation, the same as those for which the same is true of the sun.

    Those, as I expect you know, are simply the tropics. So, to a first approximation, the moon can be directly overhead everywhere from 23.5 degrees N to 23.5 degrees S. In fact, because the two orbits are not totally coplanar, the zone is actually slightly wider than that.

  • lopes
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    the least confusing thank you to think of this: only take the solar first, that is only approximately the comparable for the Moon. For our elementary places (ie northern hemisphere) the solar in summer time stands severe, the solar in wintry climate stands low, yet nonetheless consistently alongside the SOUTH sky. So the Moon does the comparable. although, severe comprehensive Moon in wintry climate, low comprehensive Moon in summer time (only given which you may think of the moon is opposite the solar). yet in addition the Moon consistently alongside the SOUTH sky. solar and Moon are alongside the NORTH sky for human beings of the Southern hemisphere. purely for them between Tropic of maximum cancers line and Tropic of Capricorn line, the solar and Moon can climb quickly overhead! On different days of the 300 and sixty 5 days that is severe yet on the northern area of the sky, or that is severe yet on the southern area of the sky. After telling all this, you are going to be extra precise now in case you apart from could be responsive to that the orbit of the 'moon around earth' in actuality makes an attitude of around 5 tiers with the orbit of 'earth around solar'. this means e.g. that if the solar has a optimal top for a undeniable place, the moon may even stand 5 tiers larger than that. So this only ability that the two Tropic traces pronounced above as borders, are enlarged extremely with some 5 tiers.

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  • 7 years ago

    Oscillates within the band

    Ecliptic ± 9° 8' 40".

    Ecliptic is defined as having

    Declination = Tan‾¹{Tan(23°.45) Sin(15 RA)}.

    = Tan‾¹{0.4339265 Sin(15 RA)}.

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