The moon appears to wax and wane through different phases due to how much of its illuminated surface is visible from Earth. At any given time, half the moon is illuminated by the sun's light. Depending on where the moon is in relation to the Earth, the amount of illuminated surface changes. The ratio of illuminated surface to shadowed surface creates the phases.Know More
When the moon is between the Earth and the sun, its illuminated side faces away from the planet. This is a new moon, when the visible surface is completely dark. As the moon travels through its orbit, the illuminated surface slowly becomes visible, waxing into first a crescent moon and then a half moon. After the half-moon comes a gibbous moon, in which three-quarters of the illuminated surface is visible. Finally, when the moon is directly opposite the sun, it becomes a full moon with its illuminated face entirely visible.
The moon's phase also determines when it becomes visible in the sky. A new moon is in the sky at the same time as the sun, and therefore is not visible with the naked eye. As the moon waxes, it begins to rise later in the day, until the full moon rises at sunset and sets at sunrise. The waning moon continues this pattern, rising later and later, until the new moon rises with the sun once again.Learn more about Our Moon
The gravitational pull of the moon controls the rise and fall of tides on Earth and slows the planet's rotation, while the phases of the moon serve as calendar markers for human beings. High tides occur on the portion of the Earth closest to the moon and the portion farthest away. Low tides occur between those two points.Full Answer >
The phases of the moon are caused by the relative positions of the sun, Earth and moon. The moon travels around the Earth, taking just over 29 days to complete a single orbit. The sun illuminates the moon from various angles as it changes position relative to the Earth.Full Answer >
The phases of the moon are determined by the angle at which sunlight approaches the moon relative to the position of the Earth. When the sun is behind the Earth, relative to the moon, full sunlight falls on the hemisphere of the moon that faces Earth. When the sun is behind the moon, relative to Earth, sunlight falls on the opposite lunar hemisphere.Full Answer >
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 >