NOV 30, 2017 9:17 AM PST

Everything You Need to Know About the Lunar Cycle

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


Whenever you look up at the sky at night, you'll see a bevy of stars from distant stellar systems. On the other hand, you might also see the Moon, depending on how well illuminated it is by the Sun's reflected light.

The Moon goes through something known as the Lunar Cycle, which is a repetitive series of phases that alternate every 29.5 days. Most people are familiar with the terms Full Moon and New Moon - when the Moon is most visible or least visible respectively - but several stages exist in between these.

One might also refer the Moon as waning or waxing, depending on whether the lit surface of the Moon is shrinking or growing. As time passes after a New Moon, our natural satellite exhibits the following phases:

• After ~4 days: waxing crescent
• After ~7 days: first quarter
• After ~10 days: waxing gibbous
• After ~14 days: full
• After ~18 days: waning gibbous
• After ~22 days: third quarter
• After ~26 days: waning crescent
• After ~29 days: new

Regarding what causes the Lunar Cycle to happen, the Earth essentially casts a shadow on the Moon depending on its position relative to the Moon and Sun. Positions are continuously changing as the Moon orbits the Earth and the Earth orbits the Sun; therefore, the cycle repeats itself.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JAN 02, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 02, 2020
Mushroom Chemistry: Pick Your Poison, or Not
Consuming wild mushrooms is largely frowned upon because it can lead to food poisoning. Its consequence ranges from vomiting and diarrhea to death within d...
JAN 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 12, 2020
TESS Finds its First Earth-Sized World in a Star's Habitable Region
Astronomers are continuously searching for exoplanets in the deepest reaches of our galaxy, and while the Kepler Space Telescope might be a thing of the pa...
JAN 21, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 21, 2020
After Hibernation, These Grizzlies Turn to Clams for Nourishment
Grizzly bears spend up to seven Wintery months hibernating, and in that time, they can lose a substantial amount of their body weight. While surrounding ma...
JAN 23, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 23, 2020
Yes, Stress Can Turn Your Hair Gray
Stress and gray hair have always been closely associated, and now, scientists from Harvard have discovered the physiological mechanism that validates this...
JAN 22, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 22, 2020
Astronomers Have Found the Farthest Galaxy Group
An international team of astronomers funded in part by NASA has found the farthest galaxy group identified to date.  The trio of galaxies, called EGS7...
FEB 09, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 09, 2020
Horned Lizards Are Great Predators, But Also at Avoiding Predation
There are at least 17 known species of horned lizard belonging to the genus Phrynosoma, but the giant horned lizard (Phrynosoma asio) is the largest of the...
Loading Comments...