The moon never stays in the same shape. Each day, it changes its way and position. Sometimes, it’s full, half, or just silver, and sometimes we don’t see the moon in the night sky. The change in the shape of the moon is the phases of the moon. The sun always gives light to the half of the moon. The other half is in complete darkness. The phase of the moon depends on the angle of reflection of sunlight and also the viewpoint of Earth. There are eight phases of the moon, and every phase differs from each other.
The new moon is the first phase of the lunar cycle. It occurs at the moment when the sun and moon are parallel aligned to the Earth. In other words, the sun and Earth are on the opposite side of the moon.
Waxing Crescent Moon
When the thin silver layer of the moon becomes visible some days after the new moon, it is the beginning of the first intermediate phase and known as waxing crescent moon. In the past, people used to call this phase the new moon, and the darkest period was the dark moon.
First Quarter Moon
When the moon has reached the first quarter of its orbit around the Earth, it is the second primary moon phase and known as the first quarter moon. During this phase, we can see 50% of the moon’s surface and also called half-moon.
Waxing Gibbous Moon
Waxing Gibbous moon is the second intermediate phase and lasts until the next primary phase. The word waxing means that the moon is getting bigger, and the gibbous refers to its convex shape.
The full moon appears when the sun and moon are aligned parallel and opposite to each other. The alignment only lasts for a moment. The moon is behind the Earth.
Waning Gibbous Moon
It is the next intermediate phase of the moon. During this phase, the visible half of the moon illuminated decreases by time. The period lasts until the moon is half illuminated.
Third Quarter Moon
It occurs when the opposite half of the moon gets illuminated compared to the first quarter moon. It shows that the ¾ of the lunar phase of the way completed. The third-quarter moon, also known as last quarter moon, begins to appear less and seems like the moon is shrinking
Waning Crescent Moon
Less than half of the moon illuminates from the sun during this phase. Sometimes, the earthshine on the other part of the moon illustrates towards the end. The moon shrinks to the crescent that means less than half. It is the final phase of the lunar cycle.