The moon goes through a series of different phases that change the way it looks in the sky. These changes are caused by the angles of the Moon’s positions relative to Earth and the Sun.
During each phase, the Moon appears in a different shape and color. The four major shapes are new, waxing, waning, and full.
New Moon is a name for the first phase of a lunar cycle that begins when the moon is in the darkest part of its orbit, and ends when it has reached full illumination. This is the beginning of a new month and a time to plant seeds for the coming months, set goals and make changes in your life.
In most years there are 12 New Moons, but our calendar isn’t perfectly synchronized with the moon’s orbital path, so every now and then a year will have 13 New Moons. Some of these New Moons are referred to as Black Moons because they are the darkest moons in a year, and some are called Blue Moons because they occur twice within a single month.
The new moon is the most introspective of all the Moon phases and is often a good time to take stock of your life and reflect on what you’ve been learning, achieved and changed since the previous New Moon. This is also a good time to let go of anything that no longer serves you.
A New Moon phase is also an ideal time to celebrate a new beginning or a major accomplishment, such as a new job or new relationship. It can be helpful to have a ceremony or ritual around the new moon, such as a candle lighting or an intention setting exercise, so that you can pause and honor your new beginning.
The names for the phases of a Moon cycle are important to know, but they don’t always tell us what the phase looks like. This is why astronomers have broken down the moon’s phases into four primary and four secondary phases.
These secondary phases are a little more difficult to remember than the primary ones. They are shaped differently, and you can’t just remember the shape of the phase when it happens. Instead, you have to memorize the order of the phases: NCQGF for the waxing phases (First Quarter, Full Moon) and FGQCN for the waning phases (Third Quarter, Waning Gibbous).
To remember the names of the phases, it’s best to use a simple trick. During the First Quarter phase, the moon appears shaped like a D, when it’s Full it’s an O, and during the Third Quarter phase, it looks like a C. This is a great way to remember the order of the moon phases, and can even help you memorize it when taking a quiz or test.
Whether you are a seasoned astronomer or a complete beginner, knowing the names for the moon phases is important. They make it easier to remember the order of the cycles. It’s also helpful to know which part of the moon is illuminated during these phases.
As the Moon orbits Earth, it undergoes a series of phases that are called new, waxing, waning, and full. Each phase occurs every month and repeats itself in a cycle that continues until the next new moon.
The name “waxing” comes from the fact that the amount of illumination increases during this phase. This is because the surface of the Moon is becoming more luminous as it circles Earth. The waxing phase starts at a New Moon and ends at the Full Moon.
You can identify a waxing Moon by looking for a crescent-shaped shape in the sky with its “horns” pointing up or down. This crescent is most visible after sunset when the Sun has dropped below the horizon.
A Waxing Crescent Moon is an ideal time for setting new goals and working on self-improvement. This is because the Moon is shedding its old energy to start fresh.
This phase is often referred to as a “rebuilding” Moon because it is the time when we can begin building a foundation for our lives. We can take the first steps to making our dreams a reality by gathering information and resources.
In this phase, we can also build relationships and connect with others in a deeper way. This is the time to make lasting connections that will benefit us throughout our lives.
During this phase, we may also notice a faint glow from the Moon, which is called “earthshine” or the “Da Vinci glow.” This phenomenon is most noticeable in April and May.
The waning Moon phase is a great time for preparing for the Full Moon. It is the perfect time to gather resources, information, and emotions to help you reach your goals.
The waning Moon is also a great time for healing and regeneration. This is because the Moon is shedding old energy, and it is easier for the body to absorb new energy and heal itself.
The waning moon phase is a time when the Moon gradually fades from view. When the Moon reaches this phase, it is no longer fully illuminated and it slowly decreases in size until it is completely gone from our view at the next New Moon.
During the waning phase, the Moon is no longer visible at sunset and it rises later in the night. As the Moon continues to wane, you may notice that it appears more and more like a thin crescent on the left side of the sky.
Many people have questions about when the Moon is waning and what it means. Astronomers have devised a way to help you know when the Moon is waning by identifying its shape.
A waning crescent is the smallest moon phase that occurs during the month, and it can be identified by its lit side, which points eastward in the direction of sunrise. The waning crescent is called the “old moon” because its illumination begins to diminish each day.
You can tell whether the Moon is waning or waxing by looking at the shape of the Moon, as shown below:
When a Waxing Crescent Moon is growing, its crescent-shaped lit part is shaped like a capital letter D. As the moon grows to a Full Moon, it is shaped like an O, and when it enters the Third Quarter it is shaped like a C.
However, when the moon begins to wane, the lighted part of the crescent becomes oval-shaped. This is why the moon is sometimes referred to as the “waning crescent” or the “half-moon.”
It can be difficult to tell which part of the crescent is illuminated, so Astrotwins created a simple trick for determining when the Moon is in its waning phase. They have developed a diagram that will show you the Moon’s current phase, which is called DOC.
The DOC will indicate when the Moon is in its waning crescent phase and it will also change as the Moon progresses through each Moon phase, as seen on our Moon Phase pages.
For millennia, people have used the moon’s cycles to track changes in the seasons and set calendars for important cultural transitions, like planting and hunting. As a result, ancient cultures around the world gave each monthly moon its own name, often based on what was happening during that time.
As the Moon moves through its orbit around Earth, it undergoes eight different phases. Each phase lasts a certain amount of time, called a synodic month. This cycle takes 29.5 days to complete. The phases are:
1. New Moon – This phase occurs at the beginning of each month, when the moon is newly illuminated by the Sun.
2. Waxing Moon – This phase occurs when the moon is waxing, or getting bigger, due to its growing spherical shape.
3. Full Moon – This phase occurs when the Moon is completely lit up by the Sun, or when it reaches its halfway point in its orbit around Earth.
4. Harvest Moon – This phase occurs when the Moon reaches its closest approach to the autumnal equinox, when farmers can work late into the night to harvest their crops.
5. Wolf Moon – This moon is named for the howling of hungry wolves during January, as they lament the winter’s rigors.
6. Snow Moon – This moon is named for the usually cold, snowy weather of February.
7. Buck Moon – This moon is named for the male deer (known as bucks or stags) that shed their antlers in July and start to regrow them.
8. Sturgeon Moon – This moon is named for the increased sturgeon fish catch in northeastern America during August.
9. Blood Moon – This moon is named for the red, orange, and sometimes bluish hues of blood that are visible on the Moon during this phase.
10. Super Moon – This moon is the brightest full Moon of the year, and it is also known as a supermoon or a blue moon.
These moons are typically the most famous and well-known, but not all of them have a specific name. Many Native American tribes, as well as European settlers in North America, gave their own names to each full moon.