Waxing Crescent & Waxing Gibbous – at sunset

Waxing Crescent / Waxing Gibbous
Moon - Waxing Gibbous & Waxing Crescent
The phases of the Moon
From new Moon (1 day) thru Full Moon (14 day).

  • Waxing Crescent (1 day – 7 day)

    After the new moon, the sunlit portion is increasing, but less than half, so it is waxing crescent.
  • Waxing Gibbous (7 day – 14 day)
    After the first quarter, the sunlit portion is still increasing, but now it is more than half, so it is waxing gibbous.

Waning Gibbous / Waning Crescent
Moon - Waning Gibbous & Waning Crescent
The phases of the Moon

From Full Moon (14 day) thru Old Moon (28 day).

  • Waning Gibbous (14 day – 21 day)
    After the full moon (maximum illumination), the light continually decreases. So the waning gibbous phase occurs next.
  • Waning Crescent (21 day – 28 day)
    Following the third quarter is the waning crescent, which wanes until the light is completely gone – a new moon.


How to remember the phases of the Moon

  • New Moon
    –   during a new moon, the moon is completely dark.
    –   the moon is beginning its cycle, like becoming “new.”
    –   these moons are the hardest to see.
    –   you can barely make out the outline of it in the picture on the left.
  • Waxing Crescent
    –   when the moon is waxing, the sunlit part we can see is growing.
    –   during a waxing crescent, we can see only a small section on the right that is shaped like a crescent.
    –   you can remember which is waxing and which is waning because waxing rhymes with relaxing.
    –   the first letter ofrelaxing is R, which starts the word right, the lit up side.
  • First Quarter
    –   when the moon is at its first quarter, the right half is lit up.
    –   this phase is between the waxing crescent and waxing gibbous.
    –   it is called the first quarter because it is a quarter of the way through the moon phase cycle.
  • Waxing Gibbous
    –   during a waxing gibbous, there is only a small part on the left that we can’t see.
    –    the relaxing trick will work here too to help remember which is waxing and which is waning.
  • Full Moon
    –   during a full moon, the bright part is fully lit.
    –   the full moon is the halfway mark for the moon’s cycle.
  • Waning Gibbous
    –   waning gibbous is the opposite of a waxing gibbous.
    –   only a small piece on the right we can’t see.
  • Last Quarter
    –   during the last quarter, the left half is lit up. Sometimes this is also called the third quarter.
    –   the last quarter moon phase is between the waning crescent and the waning gibbous.
  • Waning Crescent
    –   during a waning crescent, we can only see a small piece on the left that is lit up.
    –   after this phase is complete, the moon’s cycle will start over again with the new moon.
  • Old Moon
    –   once is the cycle is complete, it starts over again – the phases of the Moon repeat about every once 27 days.
    –   unlikely that there are twice full moons in one month.  When it occurs twice full moons in one month, it is called a Blue Moon.

Back to The Moon page.


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