Movement of the Moon

Predicatable Patterns based on the Moon's Movement

Moon Phases

The Moon goes through a very predictable series of changes we call phases. The revolution of the Moon around the Earth and the rotation of the Earth on its axis cause the phases of the Moon and the time of day or night we see the Moon. The Moon rotates and revolves in the same amount of time (29.5 days). For this reason; we always see the same side of the Moon from Earth. When the Moon is not visible from Earth, it is called the New Moon; When the Moon is completely illuminated and perfectly round, it is called a Full Moon; halfway between New Moon and Full Moon is the First Quarter, and halfway between the Full Moon and New Moon is the Third Quarter.


When the Moon’s shadow hits Earth or the Earth’s shadow lands on the Moon, an eclipse takes place. A solar eclipse takes place during a New Moon when the Earth, Sun and Moon are in a direct line with each other and the Moon is between the Earth and Sun. A lunar eclipse occurs during a Full Moon when the Earth, Sun and Moon are in a direct line with each other and the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon.


Tides are caused mainly by the positioning of the Moon in relation to the Earth and Sun. The force of gravity pulls the Moon and Earth toward each other. Not only does it pull the water, but it also pulls the land. Even though the Sun’s gravitational force is 180 times stronger than that of the Moon, the Moon is much closer, so its force across Earth’s diameter is twice as strong as the Sun’s.

In most places, there are 4 tides a day, including 2 high and 2 low tides. It takes about 12.5 hours to move from one high or low tide to the next. Approximately 6 hours fall between a high and low tide. At any one time, there are two places on Earth with high tides and two with low tides. The Earth appears to move through these two high tides every 25 hours or so. (24 hours 50 minutes) A complete tidal day from a high tide one day to the same high tide the next day is 24 hours and 50 minutes long because the Moon, which exerts the greatest amount of tidal influence, rises about 50 minutes later each day.

At Full Moon and New Moon, the Sun, Moon and Earth are in a line and this causes unusually high and low tides, called spring tides, at these phases. During the First and Last Quarter Moons, the Earth, Sun and Moon are at right angles to one another and the pull of gravity is counterbalanced producing neap tides, in which there is little difference between tides.