PHASES OF THE MOON the Lunar Cycle Explained

moon light

the moon shines because its surface reflects light from the Sun

despite the fact that it sometimes seems to shine very brightly, the moon reflects only between 3 and 12 percent of the sunlight that hits it

the perceived brightness of the Moon from Earth depends on where the Moon is in its orbit around the planet

phases of the moon explained

the phases of the Moon are based on the amount of light we see and depend on the Moon's position in relation to the Sun and Earth

as the Moon makes its way around the Earth, we see the bright parts of the Moon's surface at different angles and these are called "phases" of the Moon

vocabulary to help

waxing: increasing in apparent size (reflecting light on the right side of the Moon)

waning: decreasing in apparent size (reflecting light on the left side of the Moon)

crescent: the curved sickle shape of the waxing or waning moon

gibbous: the illuminated part of the Moon is greater than a semicircle and less than a circle

names and order of the Moon's phases

New Moon : the Moon's unilluminated side is facing the Earth and the Moon is not visible (except during a solar eclipse)

Waxing Crescent : the Moon appears to be partly but less than one-half illuminated by direct sunlight and the fraction of the Moon's disk that is illuminated is increasing

First Quarter : one-half of the Moon appears to be illuminated by direct sunlight and the fraction of the Moon's disk that is illuminated is increasing

Waxing Gibbous : the Moon appears to be more than one-half but not fully illuminated by direct sunlight and the fraction of the Moon's disk that is illuminated is increasing

Full Moon : the Moon's illuminated side is facing the Earth and the Moon appears to be completely illuminated by direct sunlight

Waning Gibbous : the Moon appears to be more than one-half but not fully illuminated by direct sunlight and the fraction of the Moon's disk that is illuminated is decreasing

Last Quarter : one-half of the Moon appears to be illuminated by direct sunlight and the fraction of the Moon's disk that is illuminated is decreasing

Waning Crescent : the Moon appears to be partly but less than one-half illuminated by direct sunlight and the fraction of the Moon's disk that is illuminated is decreasing

Created By
Athanasios Bayiates
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Credits:

Created with images by Lee_seonghak - "a total solar eclipse the night sky" • Yutaka Tsutano - "Moon" • rkarkowski - "moon the fullness of sky" • PDPics - "definition word dictionary" • swampcat1943 - "moon moonlight night"

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