Walls That Talk
Phases of the Moon
Have you ever looked up at the sky and noticed how the Moon changes shape each night?
In fact, it doesn't change shape at all!. The Moon doesn't emit light itself, the moonlight we see is actually the Sun's light reflected off the lunar surface.
So, as the Moon orbits the Earth, the Sun lights up different parts of the surface, making it seem as if the Moon is changing shape. In actual fact, it's just our view of if that's altering.
The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite ( a celestial body that orbits a planet). it takes the moon 27.3 days to make a complete orbit around the Earth, but because the Earth is moving around the Sun at the same time, it takes the Moon 29.5 days to go through its eight different phases. This is what we call a lunar month. The Moon's rotation is tidally locked by Earth's gravity therefore most of the same lunar side always faces Earth.
When the moon appears to be getting bigger, it's waxing and when it looks like it's getting smaller, it's waning. Once the face of the Moon is fully turned towards the Sun, it's a full moon, and we see it all. But, as the Moon moves around the earth, the face pointing towards us gradually becomes hidden from the Sun until we can hardly see it all - this is a New Moon.
Each of the four intermediate lunar phases is around 7.4 days, but this varies slightly due to the elliptical shape of the Moon's orbit. Aside from some craters near the lunar poles, all parts of the Moon see around 14.77 days of daylight, followed by 14.77 days of night. The side of the Moon facing away from the Earth is sometimes called the 'dark side of the Moon'.