AskDefine | Define lunation

Dictionary Definition

lunation n : the period between successive new moons (29.531 days) [syn: lunar month, moon, synodic month]

User Contributed Dictionary



from lunar



  1. a month of approximately 29.53 days, measured from a lunar phase until the return of that same phase. On average, the number of days between Full Moons is about 29.5306 days. The actual number of days may differ from the average number by more than a half day. From one Full Moon to the next, the number of days in one lunation can vary between 29.272 and 29.833 days.
  2. The name or term given the irregular period from one new moon until the next.

Extensive Definition

Lunation is the mean time for one lunar phase cycle (i.e., the synodic period of the Moon).  It is on average 29.530589 days, or 29 d 12 h 44 min 3 s.  The length of this cycle is linked to many phenomena in nature.
In a lunar calendar each month corresponds to a lunation.
Individual lunations vary in length by several hours, because of the eccentricity of the orbits of the moon and Earth.  However, the lunation is never more than 15 hours behind or ahead of a mean lunation.

See also

lunation in Danish: Lunation
lunation in German: Lunation
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