Universe – Moon Phases


 
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The Universe – The Phases of the Moon

New Moon – The Moon's un-illuminated (“dark”) side is facing the Earth. The Moon is barely visible, because of reflecting “Earth light” back at us, and is most visible during a solar eclipse. (Day 0)
Waxing Crescent – The Moon is less than one-half illuminated, on the right side, by sunlight. The fraction of the Moon's disk that is illuminated is increasing nightly. (Days 1–6)
First Quarter – The right half of the Moon is illuminated by sunlight. The fraction of the Moon's disk that is illuminated is still increasing nightly. (Day 7.4)
Waxing Gibbous – The Moon is more than one-half illuminated, on the right side, by sunlight. The fraction of the Moon's disk that is illuminated is still increasing nightly. (Days 8–13)
Full Moon – The Moon's illuminated side is facing the Earth. The Moon appears to be completely illuminated by direct sunlight. (Day 14.8)
Waning Gibbous – The Moon is more than one-half illuminated, on the left side, by sunlight. The fraction of the Moon's disk that is illuminated is decreasing nightly. (Days 15–21)
Third or Last Quarter – One-half of the Moon is illuminated, on the left side, by sunlight. The fraction of the Moon's disk that is illuminated is still decreasing nightly. (Day 22.1)
Waning Crescent – The Moon is less than one-half illuminated, on the left side, by sunlight. The fraction of the Moon's disk that is illuminated is still decreasing nightly. (Days 23–28)
 
Following the waning crescent is another New Moon (Day 29.5), beginning a repeat of the complete phase cycle, which averages 29.5 days. The time in days is counted from the New Moon, and is called the Moon's "age". Each complete cycle of phases is called a "lunation". When you are done reading this, get on the internet on my computer and go to: http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/solar_system_level2/moonlight.html to take the quiz on the phases of the moon.
 
 

 
 
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