Q:

Why does the moon appear bright?

A:

The moon appears bright because the side visible on Earth reflects the light from the sun. As the moon and the Earth move around their respective orbits, different portions of the moon are visible to people on Earth, depending on the angle at which the light hits the moon and reflects back to Earth. The moon reflects back about 12 percent of the light from the sun that hits it.

The moon appears brightest during the full moon phase of its cycle. During a full moon, the moon is directly opposite the sun, and a full hemisphere reflects back the light. During the opposite phase, known as a new moon, the moon is located on the same side of Earth, and the sun and none of the illuminated portion is visible on Earth. Next to the new moon phase, the moon is at its least bright during the waxing crescent and waning crescent phases, when only a sliver of the illuminated portion is visible on Earth. The next brightest states are the first and last quarter moons, when about half of the illuminated hemisphere is visible. In between a full moon and the quarter phases, the waxing gibbous and waning gibbous phases display less than the whole, but more than half, of the hemisphere illuminated by the sun.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    Where does the moon get its light from?

    A:

    The moon gets its light from the sun, the same source as Earth and other planets. The location of the moon along its orbit affects the amount of light it receives from the sun, leading to the different phases of the moon.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where does "gibbous moon" mean?

    A:

    The term "gibbous moon" refers to the phase of the moon's cycle when more than half but less than all of the moon is illuminated by the sun, making it visible from Earth. A gibbous moon can be either waxing or waning, explains Universe Today.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    When does the moon disappear?

    A:

    The moon is not visible to observers on Earth during its new moon phase, when the moon is located on the same side of Earth as the sun. During this phase, the portion of the moon that is illuminated by the sun faces entirely away from the Earth.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why is only one side of the Moon called the dark side of the Moon?

    A:

    The Moon rotates on its axis and so has day and night much like the Earth does. However, the period of the Moon's rotation and its orbit around the Earth take the same amount of time, so the near side of the Moon is always facing the Earth. The far side, or "dark" side, is never visible from the Earth's surface.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore