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Phases of the Moon


Title: PowerPoint Presentation - Phases of the Moon Author: Mike Donahue Last modified by: Rutherford County Schools Created Date: 10/27/2005 10:05:07 PM – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Phases of the Moon

Phases of the Moon
Created by Mrs. Bodine-Donahue
  • The lunar month is the 29.5 days it takes to go
    from one new moon to the next new moon. During
    the lunar month, the Moon goes through all its

The moon does NOT give off light. We only see the
Moon because sunlight reflects back to us from
its surface.
When you look up in our night sky, you will see
the moon! The way that the moon looks changes
during the month. We say that the phases of the
moon are a cycle in nature.
  • During the course of a month, the Moon circles
    once around the Earth. If we could magically look
    down on our solar system, we would see that the
    half of the Moon facing the Sun is always lit.
    But the lit side does not always face the Earth!

  • As the Moon circles the Earth, the amount of the
    lit side we see changes. These changes are known
    as the phases of the Moon and it repeats in a
    certain way over and over.

Moon Phase Descriptions...

Although this cycle is a continuous process, there are eight distinct stages, called phases. These phases of the Moon, in the sequence of their occurrence (starting from New Moon), are shown below.

New Moon
During a new moon, the moon looks dark.
Waxing Crescent
As the surface of the moon that we see gets
bigger, we say that the moon is waxing.
First Quarter
When the moon is ¼ of the way around the earth,
it is in its first quarter phase or waxing
quarter. We see it as half lit.
Waxing Gibbous
After the quarter moon, the moon is moving
towards a full moon. We call this a waxing
gibbous moon.
Full Moon
Now its time for a full moon. The entire face
of the moon that we are able to see shines during
the full moon.
Waning Gibbous
Following the full moon, the surface of the moon
seems to be getting smaller. We call this a
waning moon.
Last Quarter
Now that the moon is ¾ of the way around the
Earth, it seems to be half lit. We call this a
waning quarter moon.
Waning Crescent
Before we get to the new moon, we see a sliver of
moon shining up in the sky. This is a waning
A while after four weeks the illuminated half of
the Moon again faces away from us, and we come
back to the beginning of the cycle a new moon.
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