The Moon's Dark Side

The Moon and it's Phases


Did you know that the moon is the only natural satellite that orbits the planet Earth?The moon is also the second brightest object in the sky , following the giant fire ball sun.

If you look out in the night sky every month, you can observe that the Moon is constantly changing. Why does the Moon change its shape every night?
The Moon continuously changes its shape every night because of its location in relationship with the Sun and the Earth.The moon never goes away or changes its shape, we just see a fraction of the sunlight reflected from the moon to the Earth, which gives different phases of the Moon.

Each of the Moon's Phases

The phases of the moon work in a cycle. The phases of the moon depend on how much of the moon we see and the amount visible in increase or decrease of the moon. The eight different phases of the Moon are:

1.New Moon

2.Waxing Crescent

3.First Quarter

4.Waxing Gibbous

5.Full Moon

6.Waning Gibbous

7.Last Quarter

8.Waning Crescent

Crescent Moons are when it's less than half illuminated.

Gibbous Moons are when it's more then half illuminated.

"Waxing" means that the Moon becomes more illuminating, night-by-night.

The term "waning" means that the Moon's getting less illuminated every night

How the moon's phases affect the tides

'Tide' is a term defining the alternating rise and fall of the sea level produced by the gravitational force of the moon. These are classified as lunar tides. Tides are created because the earth and the moon are attracted to each other, just like magnets. The moon tries to pull at anything on earth to bring it closer to itself. Fortunately, the earth is able to hold on to everything, except the water.

This is because water is constantly moving so the earth cannot hold onto it, and so the moon would be able to pull it. Tides are rising and falling large bodies of water. Winds and currents move the surface causing waves. The gravitational pull of the moon causes the ocean to bulge out in the direction of the moon. The ocean at the other end of the earth also bulges out since the earth is moving the opposite direction towards the moon so it is left being pulled outwards.

Types of tides

When the sun and moon are aligned,they cause very high and very low tides because of the strong gravitational pull. These tides are called 'Spring Tides' (They have nothing to do with the season!)

When the sun and moon are not aligned, the gravitational pull is not that strong because they cancel each other out. The tides are not as dramatically high or low. These tides are called 'Neap Tides.'

As the moon travels around the earth and both travel around the sun, the combined gravitational force of the moon and even the sun causes the world's oceans to rise and fall. Depending on the phases of the moon, the tides will change.

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