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The Phases of the Moon

Why are different phases of the moon seen throughout the month?
by

Ashley Wilson

on 19 September 2012

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Transcript of The Phases of the Moon

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli Why are different phases of the moon seen throughout the month? And now we are back again to a New Moon. New Moon The new moon occurs when the moon is positioned between the Earth and Sun. The three objects are in alignment. The entire illuminated portion of the moon is on the back side of the moon, facing the Sun, This is why we cannot see the moon during this phase. Waxing Crescent We're not done "waxing" so the reflection of sunlight is still expanding across the moon's surface. First Quarter Waning Gibbous Waxing Gibbous Full Moon The moon appears half lit, but it's called Third Quarter (or Last Quarter) because the moon has completed 75% of it's orbit. Third Quarter Waning Crescent "Wax on" Waxing:
growing or
expanding in light Crescent:
moon is less than half visible Wax on, Wax off, wax on, wax off
wan on, wan off, wan on, wan off. Wax on Wax on Wax off Wax off Wan on Wan off Wan on Wan off "Wan on"
WANING -> LOSING LIGHT -> WANING away... The cycle repeats about every 29 1/2 days. Let's do this again but this time with a song! During a full moon, the Sun, the Earth, and the moon are in alignment just like the new moon phase. During a Full Moon, the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth, so the entire side visible to us is reflecting the sunlight. The dark side of the moon is not visible. Gibbous:
moon is more than half full Waning:
Losing light; light reflected is shrinking or decreasing It looks half lit, but it's called First Quarter because the moon is a quarter way around it's orbit of Earth. Who remembers what crescent means? Crescent means the moon is less than half full. What is the difference between waxing and waning? Side reflecting sunlight Side viewed from Earth appears dark, we can't see the side that reflects the sunlight. New Moon:
Moon is dark because we cannot see the side that reflects the Sun's light. Crescent...
Think of the letter C a forward C and backwards C Who knows what "orbit" means? An orbit is the path of one object in space around another object. Sun's light is able to reflect off the whole side visible on Earth so we see a Full Moon. The side of the moon that is not visible to Earth is still dark, but one whole side of the moon makes it appear as a Full Moon here on Earth. Waxing means the light being reflected from the Sun is getting bigger and waning means the light being reflected from the Sun is getting smaller. The moon orbits Earth... what does Earth orbit?
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