All About The Moon and Tides

By: Reety and Arissa

The Phases Of The Moon

What Are The Phases Of The Moon?

There are 4 main phases of the moon. There is a full moon, a 3rd quarter, 1st quarter, and a new moon every month. There is also the waxing and waning crescent with the waxing and waning gibbous that happens every month. The process starts from the new moon phase. A new moon happens when the moon lies between Earth and the sun. You'll know when it occurs, because you'll see that the moon is mostly dark with no sun shining on the part we can see. From the new moon, it starts waxing. Then it goes from the new moon phase to the waxing crescent, which you can see is when only a small part of the moon has the sun shining on it on the right side. Then you see the 1st quarter, which is just the light shining on the right half of the moon. Next you see is the waxing gibbous, which is when the light shines on more than half of the moon on the right side. When it hits the full moon, it starts waning. Then when the light starts shining on the left side of the moon, you get the waning gibbous, the last quarter( or the 3rd quarter), and the waning crescent. After it hits the new moon phase again, a whole month would have ended and you'd have seen the whole lunar cycle!

How Tides Are Made

Firstly you need to know what tides are. They are the alternative rising and falling of water in the ocean. Tides are made by the gravitational pull of the Earth, the sun, and the moon. In the diagram on the right , you see the combined gravitational pull of the moon and sun is causing the water on Earth to rise and fall. When sun and moon and Earth are alligned like the picture above, the sun and moon's gravitational pull, combined, creates really high tides on the west and east sides of the Earth and really low tides in the northern and southern sides. What you see in the picture is where the sun, moon, and Earth are in a straight line. This is called the perigean stage.

The Kinds Of Tides

What If There Was No Moon?

If there was no moon, our days would be shorter. Because of the gravitational pull of the moon, Earth would revolve around the sun very fast. The moon orbits around Earth keeping itself revolving around it and not letting itself go out into space using gravity, and if the moon wasn't here, Earth wouldn't go slow as if the moon was using its gravitational pull on it. So, that's why our days would be shorter, even if we surely didn't see the moon. Also, if we didn't have the moon we woudn't have the tides that we usually have. With only the sun's gravitational pull, the high and low tides we'd have would be very weak. Since the sun is far away, its gravitational pull would be weaker than the moon's gravitational pull. The moon is much closer to Earth, so it would make a big difference.

How Can We Predict Tides?

We can predict tides by using the moon. It depends on what phase it is in or how far it is from Earth. Different kinds of tides happen in the different phases of the moon and if it is far north, south, east, or west, and sometimes right over the equator! For example, mixed tides happen when the moon is far north or south from the equator. That is why we have tide books. If today was Monday, and you wanted to see the tidal range for Wednesday, you could!

The Moon Is Pulling On The Water Creating Tides

( It's a full moon, too!)