20-hour-old Moon

20-hour-old Moon

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Credit: Larry Landolfi/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY


Caption: 20-hour-old waxing crescent Moon, taken February 3, 2011 from Rochester, NH. Image of a waxing (increasing in apparent size) crescent Moon less than 1 day into its 28-day cycle. The lunar phases arise as the Moon's orbit of the Earth shows the Earth-facing side moving into and out of the light of the Sun. This Earth-facing side of the Moon is locked in place by the gravitational influence of the Earth. This results in a lunar day that equals the length of the lunar Earth orbit. On a waxing Moon the day-night line (terminator) marks the lunar dawn. The Moon is crescent when it is less than half full.

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