Orbital Mechanics for Werewolves

So you’ve been bitten by a werewolf? Congratulations! You’ve joined a long line of shapeshifters going back centuries. You may be noticing certain changes, perhaps improved eyesight, or greater strength, or a sudden craving for raw steak.

We aren’t going to talk about those here. You should ask your new packmates about the changes you’re experiencing.

Full moon
(Full Moon image by Luc Viatour)

Besides your new urge to chase squirrels, you might also be wondering about the Moon for the first time. Unless you were a sailor or a fisherman or a cat burglar, the Moon probably never figured highly in your life. But now that you are a werewolf (and congratulations again!), it will be very important for you to keep track of the phase of the Moon.

The full Moon is the important thing to know, of course. You can get the were app for your phone, and it will remind you of when the full Moon is approaching. But what if you lose your phone? Your pack alpha would be quite displeased if you missed planning for a full Moon because of something that stupid.

The Moon follows very simple rules, and after some practice you will automatically know where the Moon is every day. The Moon orbits the Earth, and both together orbit the sun. The Moon is very close to the Earth, and the sun is very far away.


The sun provides all the light: the side of the Moon that faces the sun is lit up, just like the side of the Earth that faces the sun is lit up (we call that ‘day’). But the Moon is just a bit more complicated, because it orbits the Earth too. The same side of the Moon always faces the Earth. The amount of that side that is lit up depends on how much of the side that faces us is also facing the sun. That’s determined by where the Moon is in its orbit around the Earth.

new Moon

If the Moon is next to us, part of the face that we see is lit up. If the Moon is between us and the sun, none of it is lit up. That’s the new Moon. You won’t have to worry about were changes at all during this time, no matter how recent your bite. That’s the only time solar eclipses can happen, and only if the Moon is exactly between us and the sun. Solar eclipses aren’t really interesting to werewolves, except for the slight increase in vampire activity.

full Moon

The full Moon, that’s the interesting one. The Moon is on the other side of the Earth from the sun, so the side that’s lit up faces us. From full Moon to full Moon varies a bit but is about 29 days. The Moon rises 50 minutes later each day (that’s 24 hours divided over 29 days). Lunar eclipses can only happen when the Moon is full, because that’s the only time the Earth’s shadow could fall across the Moon.

Take another look at the full Moon diagram. See how the Moon is on the night side of Earth? On the night when the Moon is full, it rises at sunset and sets at sunrise. If the sun starts to set you do not have any more time. No fooling around. On full Moon nights, get to the den well before sunset, or your alpha will be very angry with you.

The new Moon is entirely opposite. It rises at sunrise and sets at sunset. Not only is it completely dark, it’s only up during the day. During the days around the new Moon, the crescent is visible during the day, rising later and later each day.

The area lit up by the sun changes a little bit every day, just like the time of Moonrise. First the Moon gets lighter and lighter (called waxing), then it’s full and we party, then it decreases (waning), until the new Moon 29 days later.

northern phases

If you live in the northern hemisphere, like most werewolves, the light and the darkness advance from the right, as in the above figure.

southern phases

But if you live in the southern hemisphere, they’re backward, advancing from the left. And what about the equator? The equator is not a good place for werewolves to live.

Werewolves have an active private space program. We anticipate having a base on the far side of the Moon within a decade, where we can live free from the influence of variable satellite light (with no Earth in the sky to shine on us) and the unwanted changes it causes. If you have a science or engineering background, we urge you to contact us once your alpha allows you out in public by yourself.

If you are bold and adventurous, we are looking for were explorers, not just for the lunar base, but for a mission to Mars to learn what the effects of multiple moons are on werewolf physiology. You could be of great service to your kind. Enroll now!

Even if you are not a scientist or explorer, we hope that this fact sheet has helped you understand when how you will adjust to the influence of the Moon on your life. If you still have questions, your alpha and your new packmates are there to help you.

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