Moon Phases Explained with Oreos

Moon Phases Explained with Oreos Infographic

Moon Phases Explained with Oreo Cookies

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What are the Different Phases of the Moon?

There are 8 Key Stages in a Moon Phase Cycle.

1. First Quarter

2. Waxing Crescent

3. New Moon

4. Waning Crescent

5. Third Quarter

6. Waning Gibbous

7. Full Moon

8. Waxing Gibbous


How Long Does a Moon Phase Cycle Take?

Approximately 29.5 days.


Why Does the Moon Have Phases?

The Moon doesn't emit its own light. Instead, it reflects light off the Sun and sometimes, the Earth too (called Earthshine)! As the Moon completes its orbit around the Earth, the Earth simultaneously continues its orbit around the Sun. This results in different 'sides' of the Moon facing the Sun, causing specific areas of the Moon to appear illuminated from Earth. We call the Moon's rotation synchronous as the time it takes the Moon to orbit the Earth is equivalent to the time it takes for the Moon to complete one rotation on its axis. Every 29.5 days, the Moon completes its rotation and a new Moon Phase Cycle starts.