The moon phase on Earth changes based on the moon’s position relative to our planet and the sun. This is why you can see different phases of the moon throughout the year, from a full moon to a new moon.
There are eight distinct moon phases each month. This cycle takes about 29-and-a-half days to complete.
A full moon is when the face of the Moon that we can see from Earth is fully lit. This happens once a month, but only in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Moon’s surface changes phase in an orderly manner as it orbits around the Earth, with different parts of the Moon illuminated as it goes through its phases. It grows with light from a crescent to a semicircle to a gibbous (a more than semicircle but less than a full circle) shape until it becomes a full moon.
A phase can last from a day to a week, depending on how much of the Moon is lit. New Moon is completely dark, First Quarter is essentially 50 percent illuminated, Full Moon is 100 percent illuminated and Last Quarter is back to essentially 50 percent illumination.
As the Moon orbits around the Earth, it changes shape in the sky as it reflects the light of the Sun. It starts with a new moon phase when the side of the Moon facing Earth is dark, then enters the quarter-moon phase where only half of its lit surface is seen from Earth.
As the moon grows into a full moon, it is high in the sky and its illuminated side is seen from many different angles. As the Moon begins to fade in the waning crescent phase, the illuminated side is visible only a short time before it sets.
The Waxing Crescent phase of the lunar cycle is a time when you can look back over your accomplishments and see how far you’ve come. It’s also a time for new beginnings.
It’s the perfect time to take steps towards the next goal in your life, or to let go of something you no longer need. Many people find themselves compelled to take action during this moon phase, and faith tends to be high at this time.
The waxing crescent phase of the moon cycle lasts a full 7.38 days before going into the new moon phase. Astronomers have broken down this 30-day cycle into 4 primary phases that occur at specific times no matter where you are on Earth, and 4 secondary phases that reflect a span of time rather than a specific moment.
The Waxing Gibbous phase is an intermediate Moon phase that occurs just before the Full Moon. It’s a time when the Moon appears to be half lit up and the other half in darkness.
This is a good time to reflect on what’s been accomplished over the past month, and to decide which goals are near completion and need the final push.
It’s also a time to consider what you’re ready to let go of in order to make way for new energy. This may be a good time to start a new book, pick up a new skill or go deeper into your meditation practices.
As the Moon moves around Earth, it appears to change phases. These changes are determined by the relative positions of the Moon and Sun in the sky as well as how far along the Moon is in its orbit.
The four main phases are New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon and Last Quarter. The remaining four phases occur at halfway points between these main phases.
The Last Quarter phase is often associated with letting go, especially in the area of relationships. It’s a time to release old patterns that don’t serve your highest good, and make space for new opportunities to emerge.