How Often Does the Moon Phase Change?

how often does the moon phase change

The moon orbits Earth once every 29.5 days, and as it does so, the illuminated portion of its surface changes. This happens because of the moon’s position between the Sun and Earth.

As the moon orbits, its illuminated portion changes from a fully shadowed area at new moon to a full illuminated area at full moon. It then progresses through the waxing phases where the visible area grows, until it finally reverses and becomes a waning phase where the illuminated area decreases.

New Moon

Once a month, the sun and moon align in the sky and set off a cycle of light. New moons are a special time to focus on establishing new habits, starting fresh projects and initiating life changes.

Depending on where you live, these phases can appear to change slowly from one night to the next. This is due to Earth’s constant spinning beneath the moon.

The moon cycles through four primary lunar phases (new moon, first quarter, full moon, and last quarter) as well as four intermediate ones (waxing crescent, waxing gibbous, waning crescent, and waning gibbous). They occur about 7.4 days apart on average.

There are also two “blue moons” each year – when the full moon occurs twice in the same calendar month. These rare occurrences are not very common, but they can be quite fun to experience!

First Quarter

The first quarter moon is halfway between a new moon and a full moon. It is a time when you might have roadblocks, doubts and misunderstands thrown at you.

It’s a good idea to use this as an opportunity to take stock of what you’ve done so far and be critical of your approach. Once you have a clearer picture of your progress, you can set a plan and start moving forwards towards your goals.

During this phase, the Moon is at a right angle to Earth and Sun. As a result, we can see half the daylit side of the Moon, which looks like half a pie.

This is the last phase before the waxing crescent and then waxing gibbous phases. In this phase, the left half of the Moon appears brighter than the right half in the Northern Hemisphere. The opposite is true in the Southern Hemisphere.

Full Moon

The Moon cycles through a series of phases from new to full, based on how much of its surface is illuminated by the sun’s light. The new phase is when the satellite’s lit-up side is symmetrically facing Earth and its dark side faces away from it (visually speaking).

As it continues its journey around the planet, it passes behind Earth with respect to the sun, which creates a lunar eclipse. There are only a few total lunar eclipses each month.

But while the moon’s cycle is a powerful symbol of renewal, it does have some pitfalls. It’s easy to become swept up in its energy, which can lead to knee-jerk reactions that aren’t always good for you.

Last Quarter

The Moon orbits Earth in a cyclical way, changing phases. These phases vary in length from new to full, and from first to last quarter.

The New Moon is essentially 0 percent illuminated, the First Quarter phase is 50 percent, the Full Moon is 100 percent, and the last quarter is back to essentially 50 percent illumination. The percentages represent an artificial construct, but they do approximate how much of the Moon’s surface is reflecting sunlight.

When the Moon passes through each phase, the Sun rises or sets along the lunar terminator (the dividing line between light and dark areas of the Moon). This is why it’s a good time to see the surface features of the Moon.

The Last Quarter is traditionally associated with ‘letting go’, a perfect time to let go of lingering negative energies in your life or relationships. It’s also a great time to let your innate intuition guide you to the right course of action.

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