The time of day when the sun at its zenith, relative to the observer, is called "noon."

What is the lunar equivalent? "Moon's zenith" sounds so clunky.

  • 8
    You could call it high moon :-)
    – Jay Elston
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 20:02
  • Hah, clever! Post that as an answer!
    – JD.
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 20:05
  • 1
    Surely it's 'midnight' -- really as close to 12am as noon is to 12pm.
    – JAM
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 20:08
  • 2
    @JAM Nope. Midnight tracks the sun, not the moon. The moon is only occasionally opposite the sun.
    – ghoppe
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 20:10
  • @ghoppe I did not know that.
    – JAM
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 20:11

2 Answers 2


Zenith, in its sense “(astronomy) The highest point in the sky reached by a celestial body”, actually is quite suitable for the purpose. In some sentences, lunar zenith may read slightly better than moon's zenith.

A term that is technically correct but may be misunderstood is transit, in its sense “(astronomy) The passage of a celestial body across the observer's meridian”. A problem with transit is that another sense, “The passage of a celestial body ... across the disk of a larger celestial body” is more-commonly associated with moons and satellites than is the meridian sense , which is often associated with stars. Thus, previously-mentioned culmination's sense “(astronomy) The attainment of the highest point of altitude reached by a heavenly body; passage across the meridian; transit” may be a better choice.

  • Interesting... it seems that transit is indeed technically the most correct since it refers to the occurrence itself. Whereas zenith or culmination refer to a position or altitude and not the time it occurs. Unfortunately, it seems transit has more than one meaning in astronomy. However, in regular English, I agree that lunar zenith sounds best.
    – monex0
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 22:48
  • Believe it or not, the moon can culminate without reaching it's zenith. Reason: the moon's declination changes fairly rapidly, so the moon's elevation/altitude can continue increasing after culmination. (see astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/937 for details)
    – user3065
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 21:44

One can say zenith moon as a counterpart to noonday sun, although it is not nearly as common.

Note that the astronomical term zenith actually refers to the point directly overhead the observer, not the highest position a celestial object rises over the horizon, which would be its culmination.

  • If you ask google to "define zenith" google.com/search?q=define+zenith it gives "the highest point reached by a celestial or other object" as the first definition and yours as the 2nd definition. Even as an (amateur) astronomer, I've used zenith to mean highest point, not overhead.
    – user3065
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 21:42

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