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If the sun is said to rise at morning, should I say 'the moon rises at night'?

Or is there another expression?

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The moon doesn't always rise at night and set in the day. It follows an entirely different cycle to the sun. It's just more noticable at night. –  Urbycoz Nov 22 '12 at 9:21
Actually, to be precise, Moon rises according to its own cycle, at day/night, except its rise during the day is not visible. Generally, Full Moon rises in the evening and sets in the morning, New Moon — just opposite, remaining below horizon for most of the night. –  SF. Nov 22 '12 at 9:25
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closed as not a real question by MετάEd, Carlo_R., Rory Alsop, StoneyB, Hugo Nov 24 '12 at 11:12

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2 Answers

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The sun rises in the morning simply because morning happens when the sun rises.

From NOAD [emphasis added]:

morning (n.) the period of time between midnight and noon, esp. from sunrise to noon

NOAD doesn't mention anything about sunsets under its definition of evening, but there's an interesting and pertinent note under the word origin:

evening (n.) the period of time at the end of the day, usually from about 6 p.m. to bedtime
ORIGIN Old English ǣfnung [dusk falling, the time around sunset,] from ǣfnian [approach evening,] from ǣfen (see even2 ).

My opinion? Yes, you could say the moon rises at night. Such a statement would not be strictly astronomically correct, but would lean on the reality that the most striking moonrises happen at night with a full moon.

Then there's this interesting literary tidbit:

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. (Genesis 1:14-16)

So, the moon rises at night in the sense of how moonlight "governs" the night.

Perhaps the fact that less noticeable moonrises happen at midday bothers you, and you'd prefer to be less poetic and more astronomically correct. In that case, you could say the full moon rises at night, or the sun rises in the morning, and the moonrise lights up the nighttime sky, which would be true when the moon happens to rise after sunset.

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All that can be said with certainty is that the moon rises at moonrise and sets at moonset.

These are not related to the diurnal cycle in a fixed way. The time depends on the phase of the moon.

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-1 for an answer about astronomy and not about English grammar, English language usage, or anything at all to do with English. –  user21497 Nov 22 '12 at 10:00
It's not entirely clear what the question is though, @Bill. If the question is actually about whether the moon rises or there is some other term -- and I for one think it is -- rather than whether the moon appears at night, then this is fine. More than fine, because it gives more information than is required. (Kris and I do agree occasionally!) –  Andrew Leach Nov 22 '12 at 18:39
@Amdrew: It's about what words to use when the moon appears & disappears, not about the astronomy involved. I've never heard or read the terms "moonrise" & "moonset", but that's true for many words in big dictionaries. The claim that "All that can be said with certainty is that the moon rises at moonrise and sets at moonset" is pure bullpucky. The point is "How do real users of English talk about 'moonrise' & 'moonset'?". "Sunrise" & "sunset" are scientifically false terms: Earth orbits the sun, as Copernicus, Kepler, & Galileo pointed out centuries ago. "Sunrise" & "sunset" are illusions. –  user21497 Nov 23 '12 at 0:01
The moon neither rises nor sets. It's not sitting in a chair, & space has no discernible floor for the moon to rise from or basement for the moon to set into. The moon orbits Earth & appears & disappears (to the naked eye) based on all kinds of things that are irrelevant to how people talk about it. "What's idiomatic?" is the Q, not "What's scientifically true?" When people die, do they actually "kick the bucket" or "buy the farm"? The Q's about language, not science. People say what they say; what it means is another thing. I can "walk down the road feeling fine" even if it's uphill. –  user21497 Nov 23 '12 at 0:15
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