Q:

How many phases does the moon have?

A:

Quick Answer

The moon has a total of eight individual phases. Four of these phases are considered to be the moon's main phases. The remaining four phases are considered to be the moon's transitional phases.

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How many phases does the moon have?
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Full Answer

The eight phases of the moon are new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter and waning crescent. Many people believe that the phases of the moon are the direct cause of Earth's shadow when it falls on the moon. This is actually not the case. The phases of the moon are the direct cause of the angle of the sun. The moon's current position is always between Earth and the sun. The side of the moon that faces Earth receives no direct sunlight. The only sunlight it receives is the dim sunlight that the Earth reflects. As the moon moves around the Earth, more of the moon's surface receives direct sunlight. This sunlight gradually illuminates the moon in stages. The shadow of the Earth in fact does not directly affect the moon's light, illumination or its phases. The shadow of the Earth is only seen on the moon twice every year, and this is referred to as a lunar eclipse.

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Related Questions

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    What kinds of rocks and minerals are found on the moon?

    A:

    According to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera website, the moon has a crust that is composed of rocks such as anorthosite and basalt. Anorthosite contains the mineral plagioclase feldspar which gives the rock its light color. The basalt on the moon is dark, because it is mixed with iron-bearing minerals. Basalt contains pyroxene, olivine, volcanic glass and ilmenite.

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  • Q:

    Why do we have moon phases?

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    Moon phases occur because the angle of the Earth, moon and sun changes as the moon orbits the Earth. One-half of the moon is always illuminated by the sun. As a person's angle of sight changes, different portions of sunlight and shadow are observed on the moon's surface.

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    What are the phases of the moon?

    A:

    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.

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    Why do moon phases occur?

    A:

    The different moon phases occur from its revolutions around the Earth. The moon goes through distinct phases with one complete rotation around the world, including a new phase, first quarter phase, third quarter phase and full moon. Variations in light and shape of the moon change within these phases too, as the moon goes through a waxing gibbous stage en route to the full moon stage, then transforms into a waning gibbous before reaching the third quarter phase.

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