How Long Are the Moon Phases?

how long are the moon phases

There are eight different phases the Moon goes through during its orbit around Earth, and an observer on Earth can see a different fraction of the illuminated part of the Moon at each phase.

Each of these principal phases lasts a certain amount of time. Waxing crescent, waxing gibbous, waning crescent, and waning gibbous each last one-quarter of a lunar synodic month (around 7.38 days).

New Moon

As the Moon orbits Earth, it changes phase in an orderly manner. A cycle of phases lasts about 29.5 days, just under a calendar month.

As part of this cycle, the Moon changes how much of its lit-up side we can see. This change is called lunar libration and it’s a subtle effect that can be seen from night to night but is noticeable when using time-lapse photography.

There are four primary and four intermediate phases of the moon. The primary phases occur at a specific moment in time, and the intermediate phases represent a span of time between those moments.

The new moon is one of the primary phases, occurring when the Moon is directly between Earth and the Sun. At first quarter, the Moon is half-lit in the sky at sunset and rises fully illuminated about six hours later.

First Quarter

The first quarter, also known as the Half Moon, is a primary phase that occurs when the Moon has traveled one-and-three-quarters of its orbit around Earth. During this phase, 50% of the surface of the Moon is illuminated by the Sun for a short period.

The next phase, the Last Quarter (sometimes called Third Quarter), occurs when only the left half of the Moon appears illuminated. During this time, the portion of the Moon that is illuminated slowly shrinks from left to right until a thin crescent reaches the terminator, which is the line separating the light and dark side of the Moon.

Astronomers divide this cycle into four primary phases and four intermediate phases. Each is identified by its own phase name and its moment of appearance in the sky.

Full Moon

The moon’s cycle of phases lasts about 29 1/2 days. But because it moves around the Earth constantly, each phase is only an instant to our eyes.

Full moons are an energetic, emotional and spontaneous time. They’re the perfect time to make decisions, but before you commit to anything big, give yourself some time to think about it.

While you’re reflecting on your next steps, remember to take care of yourself. If you’re feeling tired or depressed, a simple soak in water can help reset your body and recharge your mind.

Some people believe that the full moon affects their behavior, particularly their mood and sleep. However, there’s no evidence to support this theory.

Last Quarter

When you look up at the moon in the sky, it usually appears to be half-lit. This is called a last quarter moon and occurs around one week after a full moon.

The lighted part of the moon gradually gets smaller each day until it looks like a thin crescent. It also slowly fades into the dark of night until it is completely in darkness.

Scientifically, this phase is also known as a half-moon because the left side of the moon appears lighted, while the right side remains dark. It is also sometimes called a third quarter because it completes three-quarters of the moon’s revolution.

Spiritually, the last quarter moon is a great time to let go of things that are no longer serving you. This is your chance to release anger, grudges and regrets so you can move forward with a fresh start. This is also a great time to take action and set new goals for yourself.

Waxing Crescent

Waxing crescents are a transitional phase in the lunar cycle. They come after the New Moon and last until half of the moon’s surface is illuminated.

They’re a great time to reflect on your growth and progress over the last few months. You can also use this time to set intentions and manifest your dreams.

This is a time when you may be more willing to take risks and make moves that are out of your comfort zone. This is also a good time to assess areas of your life that are holding you back and figure out how you can change them.

During the waxing crescent phase, you’ll feel the need to spring forth and finish what needs to be done in order to make your dreams a reality. This is a very positive energy. And, it can encourage you to trust that the path you choose will lead you to success!

Waxing Gibbous

A waxing gibbous moon is part way between a first quarter moon and a full moon. It’s a good time to reflect on expansion and growth: Where in your life have you been stuck lately?

It’s also an ideal time to get back into the habit of doing things a little differently than you have in the past. This is a great time to start reading a new book, practicing a new skill or going deeper into meditation.

You can also use this phase as a chance to get more serious about a project you’ve been working on for a while, or to make some important changes. Whether you’re planning on making a career change or starting a new business, this phase is a great time to focus your energy toward achieving success.

Besides being a good time to reflect on expansion and development, the waxing gibbous moon is also an excellent time to see if there are any physical worldly obstacles in your way. If there are, look for ways to overcome them, and hustle until you succeed!

Waning Crescent

The waxing crescent phase, just before the new moon, is a time for change and reflection. This is a great time to focus on your goals and make sure that they are moving in the right direction.

You may find yourself taking on a new project or pushing forward towards a goal that you have been putting off for a long time. You might also feel a sense of letting go and surrendering to life’s path, which is a good thing.

The moon cycles around the earth in a pattern that repeats every month. It goes through 4 main phases (new moon, first quarter, full moon, and last quarter) and 2 intermediate ones.

Waxing Giant

In the Northern Hemisphere, when the illuminated portion of the moon grows from a crescent to semicircle and then to a gibbous (more than a semicircle but less than a full circle) shape, this is called waxing. Then, when the light begins to decrease on the left side, this is waning.

The waxing giant phase, in the Northern Hemisphere, takes about a fortnight to complete.

As the illuminated portion of the moon moves closer to the Full Moon, it starts to glow more brightly and increases the amount of illumination on its surface. This is a waxing phase and is a great time to bring new energy into your life.

This is a great time to make resolutions and get focused on what you want in your life. It’s also a time to release what you don’t need anymore, or what is not serving you. It’s also a time to make sure that you are continuing with the habits that help you build resilience.

Waxing Half

During the Moon’s cycle, it appears to be increasing in light (waxing) and decreasing in light (waning). It’s easy to learn when the Moon is waxing or waning by looking at how much illumination the Moon’s face receives.

In the Northern Hemisphere, a waxing half moon is shaped like an O, while a waning crescent moon is shaped like a backwards C. The shapes are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, but you can still use them to determine whether the Moon is waxing or waning.

This phase is a time to focus on moving forward. It’s a great time to remove any obstacles that are getting in your way and to begin making changes that will make your life better.

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