According to NASA, the phases of the moon are caused by the sunlight and shadow created by its relative position to the sun. At two points during the 29.5-day lunar cycle, the side of the moon facing the Earth is half in sunlight, half in shade. This creates a half moon, a phase that lasts a few days before it either fills to gibbous or shrinks to a waning crescent.Know More
At any given point in time, half of the moon's surface is illuminated by the sun's light. When the illuminated side faces Earth in its entirety, the moon appears full. When the illuminated side faces away from the Earth, the moon is in its new phase. As the moon moves through space around the Earth and its position changes relative to the sun's light, the moon appears to change its phase, beginning as an illuminated crescent after a new moon, swelling to full, and then slowly waning back through a half-moon and waxing crescent before the darkness of the new moon.
In some cases, the Earth's own shadow can cause the face of the moon to change. When the moon and Earth are lined up with the sun, it can create a lunar eclipse. During these events, the Earth's shadow can partially obscure the lit side of the moon, creating a temporary half moon.Learn more about Our Moon
The lunar phases are caused by the changing angles of the sun, the moon and Earth, as the moon revolves around Earth. Different amounts of the illuminated part of the moon are visible from Earth. The lunar phases include the new moon, first quarter, full moon, third quarter, crescent and gibbous.Full Answer >
The phases of the moon are: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full, waning gibbous, third quarter and waning crescent. After the waning-crescent phase the moon returns to the new-moon phase and the cycle starts again. The complete cycle takes a little over 29 days.Full Answer >
The moon appears to shine because its surface reflects sunlight. Light from the sun travels through space to reach the Earth-moon system just over eight minutes after it is emitted. Some of this light falls on the surface of the moon where, according to Universe Today, 12 percent of it is reflected back into space.Full Answer >
The moon appears orange when the sunlight it reflects passes through a thicker portion of the Earth's atmosphere. Generally, the moon only appears orange when it is close to the horizon.Full Answer >