The moon phases in order are first quarter, waxing gibbous, full, waning gibbous, third quarter, waning crescent, new and waxing crescent. There are a total of eight lunar phases.
The cycle can be started from any point, such as the new moon or full moon, because the starting point is a matter of preference and because no one actually knows which lunar phase came first. The first quarter moon looks, from Earth, like the right side of a circle that has been sliced in half. The waxing gibbous is a bit larger, and the full moon appears as a full circle. The next phases are each smaller until the new moon is reached, which is not visible at all. After the new moon, the phases begin to grow larger.Learn More
When the moon is full, the moon is at its brightest, and the entire disk is visible. New moons occur when the Earth comes between the moon and the sun, resulting in a moon that is completely obscured by the Earth's shadow and is barely visible in the night sky.Full Answer >
The moon is not a planet because, by definition, a planet is a "spherical ball of rock or gas that orbits a star," according to About.com. While the moon is a spherical ball of rock, it orbits the Earth and not the sun.Full Answer >
Sunlight reflects off the moon's surface, and it is seen at different angles from the Earth as the moon moves in orbit around the planet. These changes are known as lunar phases, which occur in a cycle that repeats every 29.5 days.Full Answer >
A lunar year is approximately 354 days long. It consists of 12 cycles of a complete lunar phase, or a synodic month, which is about 29 days.Full Answer >