The revolution of the Moon around the Earth causes the Moon to appear to change shape in the sky. These apparently different shapes are called "phases" of the Moon. The Moon passes through a cycle of eight phases which repeats itself every 29.5 days. There is no definite starting point for the cycle, but phases follow one behind the other in a strict order. Below you will find photographs of each of the eight Moon phases as well as the names and a brief description of each phase. First, match the name of each Moon phase to the photograph of the Moon during that phase. Next, STARTING WITH THE PHOTOGRAPH OF THE NEW MOON AS NUMBER 1, number the photographs to reflect the order in which the phases are viewed from the Earth.
New Moon: lighted side of the Moon faces away from the Earth.
Waxing Crescent: a small part of the Moon appears lighted and grows larger on successive days.
First Quarter: the right half of the Moon appears lighted, with the lighted part growing larger on successive days.
Waxing Gibbous: more than half of the Moon appears lighted, with more and more becoming lighted on successive days.
Full Moon: lighted side of the Moon faces toward Earth.
Waning Gibbous: more than half of the Moon appears lighted, with less and less becoming lighted on successive days.
Third Quarter: the left half of the Moon appears lighted, with the lighted part growing smaller on successive days.
Waning Crescent: a small part of the lighted Moon is visible and grows smaller on successive days.
The StarChild site is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/ GSFC.
StarChild Authors: The StarChild Team
StarChild Graphics & Music: Acknowledgments
StarChild Project Leader: Dr. Laura A. Whitlock
Responsible NASA Official: