Moon Phases

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by rsochurek
Last updated 6 years ago


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Moon Phases

WAXING GIBBOUS MOON- All but a small sliver of the Moon can be seen for majority of the night.

WAXING CRESENT MOON- Part of the Moon is starting to show during this phase. The sunlit portion of the Moon is increasing but still less than half visible, only a sliver can be seen.

NEW MOON- The first of the Moons phases. Occurs when the sun and Moon are on the same side of the Earth. We cannot see the Moon because we are looking past it and can only see the sun. Therefore, the side of the Moon that constantly faces the Earth receives no sunlight.

One half of the Moon is always illuminated by the sun. However to us on Earth, the Moon appears to cycle through phases and change shape in the sky. This is because over the course of a month the moon rotates and is illuminated from varying angles by the sun. This means that we can only see a fraction of the illuminated portion of the Moon at a time. The phases always follow each other in the same order and the cycle repeats itself every 29.5 days.


FIRST QUARTER MOON- Half of the Moon is visible during the first half of the evening.

FULL MOON- When the sun and Moon are on opposite sides of the Earth, we can see the entire face of the Moon. It remains in the sky from sunset to sunrise.

WANING GIBBOUS MOON- All but a sliver of the Moon is illuminated. During this phase we begin to see less of the Moon for less time each night.

THIRD (LAST) QUARTER MOON- During this phase, we can see exactly half of the Moon’s illuminated surface from Earth.

WANING CRESENT- Again only a sliver of the Moon is visible just before sunrise.