JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Waxing crescent Moon. Optical image of a waxing crescent Moon six days into its cycle. The Moon is said to wax when it is increasing in apparent size. The phases of the Moon are due to its orbit around Earth. When it lies in between the Earth and the Sun, only the unlit side faces us, and it is called a new Moon (day one). When it has moved round so that the Earth lies between it and the Sun, we see the full lit face, called a full Moon. A cycle takes around 28 days. North is at top. For the sequence of the Moon's phases, see images R340/526-532.
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