What are The Phases of The Moon? Why We Do Only See One Side of The Moon?

phases of the moon and why we do only see one side of the moon
Moon phase composite via Fred Espenak

Every night we see the moon in a new shape, the phase of the moon changes every day, and that we all have watched and witnessed, so does the moon really change its shape? Can it happen? Or why we do only see one side of the moon? or what are the phases of the moon? So let’s know about it…

Phases of The Moon

Who does not cherish the fine arts of the moon? Where in the sky Sun is always seen in a perfectly spherical shape, but the same moon changes its shape from day to day. This rise and fall of the moon always continue in a sequence. There comes a time when the moon becomes completely lost, which we call the new moon, and when the moon comes in its full form, it is called a full moon. The journey from full moon to the new moon takes 15 days. It takes 15 days to reach the new moon from a full moon, and again 15 days for the full moon from the new moon. However, if seen completely, there is a difference of about twenty-nine days between one full moon to another full moon. This whole process of changing its shapes known as “phases of the moon.”

Why We Do Only See One Side of The Moon?

Before understanding this, it is necessary to know that, like many planets and natural satellite, the moon does not have any light of its own, rather it is the light of the sun falling on it which is reflected to us. When any round object is illuminated, then half of its front is illuminated, but the light does not reach the back part and remains dark there. We can see the same part of the moon which is illuminated. But due to the orbit of the moon, we are not always able to see even that half.

why do we see only one side of moon
LUNAR LIBRATION. IMAGE CREDIT: WIKIMEDIA USER TOMRUEN.

In short, The phase of the moon is how much of the moon appears to us on Earth to be illuminated by the sun.

As I already mentioned, in every 29.53 days the phases of the moon make a complete cycle. As the moon circles the earth, we can only see a portion of the illuminated side of the moon. As the moon orbits or circles the Earth, the phase changes. We’ll start with what is called the New Moon phase. This is where we can’t see any of the lighted side of the moon.

At the beginning of this phase, the moon lies between our Earth and the Sun, and as the Moon revolves around the Earth, we begin to see more and more illuminated sides of the Moon, and this process continues until finally, the Moon does not reach the opposite direction of the earth from sun and we get a full moon. And then as the moon revolves around the Earth, we see less and less of the lighted side.

So it would not be wrong to say that we have a full moon every night, but we are able to see only the part which has illuminated by sunlight. So it is clear now that the moon does not change its shape, it always remains the same, but it visible in different shapes because of sunlight reflections and its revolving process.

All Phases of The Moon

phases of the moon
Image Source: bhphotovideo.com
  1. New Moon – the new moon, which is not visible.
  2. Waxing Crescent Moon – the moon that starts growing
  3. First Quarter Moon – the moon looks like half a circle
  4. Waxing Gibbous Moon – still growing
  5. Full Moon – we see the entire circle of the Moon lit up
  6. Waning Gibbous Moon – the Moon starts shrinking
  7. Third Quarter Moon – again only half a circle is visible
  8. Waning Crescent Moon – the Moon is about to disappear

Read Also: Why is It Dangerous to Look At The Solar Eclipse With Naked Eyes

Hopefully, now you may have understood what is the phases of the moon and why the moon changes its shape every night. But still, if you have any questions About phases of the moon so you can ask us in the comments section.

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