The changing shapes of the moon, known as phases, are actually just changes in perspective from Earth, which appear as a change in the moon's form. From Earth, only one side of the moon ever appears illuminated by the sun, resulting its apparent change in size.Know More
The sun provides a directional light source that strikes the moon on its visible side. As the moon orbits Earth, different amounts of the illuminated face of the moon are visible from Earth's surface. This is what is perceived on Earth as a change in the moon's shape. It should also be noted that at times the Earth passes between the moon and the sun, blocking some of the light source and casting a shadow over the face of the moon. This is known as a lunar eclipse.
There does exist an almost imperceptible change in the physical shape of the moon as a result of the Earth's gravitational pull, with the reverse being true as well. This cannot be visibly detected, but it is the reality of the gravitational forces being exerted by both bodies. The same gravitational pull also causes tidal changes in the Earth's oceans and minor fluctuations in the motion of tectonic plates.Learn more about Our Moon
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.Full Answer >
Moon phases are caused by the motions of the Earth and moon as they relate to the sun. Phases occur as the Earth-facing side of the moon changes over the course of 29.5 days when the moon revolves around the planet. When the angle of sunlight reflecting off the moon changes, humans observe different lighting levels from the moon.Full Answer >
The phases of the Moon are changes in the appearance of the Moon relative to the position of the Earth and the Sun. As the Moon travels through its monthly orbit, varying amounts of the side facing the Earth are illuminated by the light of the Sun. As the ratio of illuminated surface to shadow changes, it creates different lunar phases.Full Answer >
The moon does not physically change its shape. As it orbits the Earth, it goes through phases, and sunlight and shadows create a slightly different look each night. It takes about one month for the moon to completely cycle through its phases.Full Answer >