Well, of course the moon didn’t disappear, but it’s now back at a position where reflected moonlight will be available during the Suomi NPP passes each night…for about the next two weeks anyway. Yesterday, the VIIRS Day-Night Band imagery didn’t show much as the moon was just over the horizon in the east when the Suomi NPP satellite and VIIRS instrument passed overhead (image 1).
Notice that just a faint hint of reflected moonlight was available in the far western portion of the image when the VIIRS instrument passed overhead around 0700 UTC. However, this morning, with the moon in a better position and at 77% phase (notice it was 67% yesterday), more reflected moonlight was available to make out some cloud features (image 2).
Low clouds in the Gulf region showed up better this morning, with more visible light available. Interestingly, if you look closely, you can see a shadow cast by the low/mid cloud deck in the north central part of the Gulf, on a rough line running generally south of the Pensacola/Destin FL area. Observations at the time showed the base of this cloud deck was at about 7-9 kft. So, it would have cast a shadow with a low moon angle!
Observations with the VIIRS Day-Night Band imagery will continue to improve over the next few days as the moon approches full phase.