Q:

What does a new moon look like?

A:

Quick Answer

A new moon is not visible. During a new moon, the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. The part of the moon that is lit is facing the sun and not the Earth.

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Full Answer

The lunar cycle starts with a new moon. During a new moon, the side of the moon facing the Earth is not receiving any sunlight, so it appears black. The moon only reflects whatever light shines upon it. If no light is shining on it, then the moon cannot reflect any light. The only time the new moon is visible is during a solar eclipse, when the sun's corona shines around the outline of the moon. The new moon is not visible because it rises and sets with the sun and is eclipsed by the sun's brightness.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a third quarter moon?

    A:

    A third quarter moon, sometimes called a last quarter moon, occurs about three weeks after a new moon. The moon reflects light from the sun with varying degrees of illumination during different phases.

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  • Q:

    How long does it take the moon to complete an entire phase?

    A:

    It takes the moon 29.5 days on average to cycle from a new moon to a new moon. Sometimes, a full phase can be delayed or extended slightly when the sun's gravity effects the moon's orbit.

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  • Q:

    Why does the moon wax and wane?

    A:

    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.

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  • 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.

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