Review: MoonPhase

MoonPhase iPad/iPhone app from RomanDuck. (✭✭✭✭✬, 4.5/5, version 2.1, $1.99 )

One of the things that comes up frequently when I am working with geomancy, various forms of ceremonial magic, or just trying to schedule Pagan events, I find that I keep going online to reference a few different things:

  • What is the current phase of the moon?
  • When is the next new/full moon?
  • When is the moonrise/moonset?
  • When is the sunrise/sunset? (used in part for calculating geomantic hours)
  • What astrological position is the moon in?

Then there is additional information that is periodically useful or at least interesting (such as which full moon it is). All of this information is readily available, but frequently requires that I be online to find it, then track down the appropriate websites (sometimes plural, depending on what exactly I am looking for), wait for them to load, etc. Then not all of the good sites make it easy to pick a time in the future or the past if I am planning for a future date or performing a divinatory retrojective.

While I had played with some of the software moon calculators (e.g., iEphemeris) I had issues with many of them. They either did not provide a significant piece of information, were buggy, or required an internet connection to work. So I was quite willing to give MoonPhase a try.

This is a remarkably simple app that does a few things very well that are of interest to Pagans, Ceremonial Magicians, and really anyone interested in the moon. When you first open up the app and select your location (if you let it then it will use Location Services to help with this) it displays:

  • The current phase of the moon
  • The name of the moon you are in (e.g., Flower Moon)
  • The next/current set of moon phases
  • When the next eclipse is
  • Lumination and moon age
  • Current moon phase
  • Moonrise, moonset, sunrise, and sunset, zenith time (sun and moon), along with where you are in each progression
  • Where the moon is in the zodiac
  • Current latitude and longitude
  • Basic time and location statistics (UTC, julian day, altitude, etc).

Along with a large phase of the moon diagram. There are buttons to adjust the time, bring up a compass (if your device has a magnetometer), get help, adjust your current location, or adjust your preferences.

The preferences are mostly customization around interests. So you can customize the names used for the moon (to Calendar Month, Northeast Native American, Colonial American, English, Celtic, Wiccan (Medieval), and Wiccan (NeoPagan)), how you want the moon shadow to appear, and whether you prefer miles or kilometers. There are also a few “silly” options (show the moon as a cartoon, or as cheese, or provide a werewolf warning).

Finally, there is a Calendar button that provides a standard lunar calendar.

In other words, it does most of what I need quickly without getting in my way, and most of the flair is optional. First impressions are that it is stable (at least in the current version) and accurate, and the information provided is good. While I have tried some other apps and websites for this, I haven’t found one that is quite as clean in presentation as this one.

There is some room for improvement, especially if they move past displaying just information on the moon, as iEphemeris did. Or including more detailed information in some cases, such as minutes in addition to degrees. But these things don’t really detract much from its current usefulness as a tool.

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