MIKKEL JUUL JENSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MIKKEL JUUL JENSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Phases of the Moon as seen from the Earth, illustration. As the Moon orbits the Earth, the amount of sunlight seen on its visible hemisphere varies in a regular cycle of just over 29 days (the synodic month). This montage of images shows, anti-clockwise from centre left: a new Moon; a waxing crescent Moon; the Moon's first quarter; a waxing gibbous Moon; a Full Moon; a waning gibbous Moon; the Moon's third quarter; and a waning crescent Moon. As the cycle progresses, the motion of the Moon in its orbit around the Earth moves its visible hemisphere into and then out of the sunlight. The lunar day dawns on a waxing Moon, and then the lunar night falls on a waning Moon. For labelled versions of this diagram, see images C038/3835 to C038/3837. For the Moon's phases as they appear when viewed from space, see images C038/3841 to C038/3843. Distances shown here are not to scale.
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