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Lunar phase

Shape of the Moon's sunlit portion as viewed from Earth / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A lunar phase or Moon phase is the apparent shape of the Moon's directly sunlit portion as viewed from the Earth (because the Moon is tidally locked with the Earth, the same hemisphere is always facing the Earth). In common usage, the four major phases are the new moon, the first quarter, the full moon and the last quarter; the four minor phases are waxing crescent, waxing gibbous, waning gibbous, and waning crescent. A lunar month is the time between successive recurrences of the same phase: due to the eccentricity of the Moon's orbit, this duration is not perfectly constant but averages about 29.5 days.

The lunar phases and librations in 2024 as viewed from the Northern Hemisphere at hourly intervals, with titles and supplemental graphics
The lunar phases and librations in 2024 as viewed from the Southern Hemisphere at hourly intervals, with titles and supplemental graphics
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A full moon sets behind San Gorgonio Mountain in California on a midsummer's morning.

The appearance of the Moon (its phase) gradually changes over a lunar month as the relative orbital positions of the Moon around Earth, and Earth around the Sun, shift. The visible side of the Moon is sunlit to varying extents, depending on the position of the Moon in its orbit, with the sunlit portion varying from 0% (at new moon) to nearly 100% (at full moon).[1]

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