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8 Breathtakingly Magical Phases of the Moon

8 Phases of the Moon
I truly believe that the Moon is Earth's beauty spot. Here's more about the phases of the moon along with some interesting facts...
Ranjan Shandilya
Last Updated: Mar 1, 2018
The issue of lunar origin has been a subject of scientific speculations since the times of Galileo. The origin of the moon is unknown, although there are a number of scientific hypotheses trying to describe where the moon came from. The moon is as old as the earth - 4.6 billion years (this fact was stated by the scientists as they measured the age of lunar rocks).

As the moon revolves around the earth, the amount of sunlight that it receives varies depending on its position, which gives the impression that the moon is changing its shape. This is caused by the different angles from which we see the brighter part of the moon's surface known as the 'phases' of the moon. Of course, moon doesn't generate any light; it just reflects the light of the Sun. It passes through eight phases during a cycle that repeats itself every 29.5 days.
Phases of the Moon
1st Phase: New Moon
New moon
New moon occurs when the moon is positioned between the sun and the earth. All the three objects appear in an approximate alignment. However, the illuminated part of the moon is on its back side and hence, we cannot see it from the earth.
2nd Phase: Waxing Crescent
Waxing crescent
After the first phase (new moon), the moon progresses towards its first quarter and the beginning of it is marked by a waxing crescent. When you see a very slim crescent moon, know that it is the second lunar phase. The crescent appears to be growing bigger and bigger (as shown in the picture) finally reaching the first quarter phase.
3rd Phase: First Quarter
First quarter
When the moon is at an angle of 90 degrees with respect to the sun and the earth, we can see the exact half of the moon. This position is referred to as the first quarter of the moon.
4th Phase: Waxing Gibbous
Waxing gibbous
The beginning of this phase is marked when the moon is half the size. As the phase progresses, the part that is lit seems to grow bigger. If you look at the image above, the moon in this phase appears to be hump-backed.
5th Phase: Full Moon
Full moon
As opposed to the new moon phase, the moon during a full moon phase, is on the opposite side of the earth. Hence, the part of the moon that is lit up by the sun can be clearly seen from the earth.
6th Phase: Waning Gibbous
Waning gibbous
During this phase, the part of the moon that is visible from Earth gradually becomes smaller. Even in this phase, the moon appears to be hump-backed, only difference being that it's on the opposite side.
7th Phase: Last Quarter
Last quarter
When the moon reaches this phase, again the exact half of it is visible from the earth. If you observe the image above, you will notice that the moon in this position looks exactly opposite to its first quarter.
8th Phase: Waning Crescent
Waning crescent
Only a small part of the moon is visible in this phase which gradually becomes smaller until the lunar disk disappears at the dark of the moon. This position of the moon is sometimes referred to as the old crescent moon.
There is a possibility that in a single month, we may happen to witness the full moon twice. In such cases, the second full moon is often known as a Blue Moon.
Moon Timings
The Moon-rise takes place roughly 50 minutes later each day when compared to the previous day. This phenomenon has led to very concise timings of Moon-rise during each of its phases. The moon rise timings are as follows:
  • Sunrise heralds the rise of a New Moon.
  • The First Quarter Moon rises at afternoon.
  • The Sunset heralds the rise of a Full Moon.
  • The Last Quarter Moon rises in the middle of the night.
Interesting Facts
  • The diameter of the moon is 3476 km which makes its radius 1738 km. The density is 3.34 gm/cube cm and the mass of the moon is 7310 kg.
  • The moon is about four times smaller when compared to the earth while the gravity of the moon is about six times lesser.
  • The moon orbits the earth on a circular path in the counter - clockwise direction at a speed of 3700 km/hour.
  • The earth is at a distance of 384,400 km from the moon.
  • Contrary to the popular belief, the moon does have an atmosphere of its own. However, it is not suitable for the human lungs. The lunar air is made up of hydrogen and helium and a little neon and argon.
  • The moon is mainly made up of aluminum and silicate.
  • The gravitational pull of the moon causes the low tide and the high tide in our oceans and seas.
Moon and (Black) Magic
The Moon has always occupied a very magical place in traditional astrology, witchcraft and satanic practices across the world. The modern science is way behind in explaining various lunar effects and its role in the natural events of the Earth. Many researchers claim that suicide rates, accidents and acts of violence are increased during the full moon day.
Here I sign off with a wonderful quote by Mahatma Gandhi who said, "When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator".
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