Moon Phases

The moon has a powerful allure -- it is full of beauty, legend, myth and romance. Anyone with an interest in the moon or the phases of the moon -- for whatever reason -- should find some valuable information here, including a free current / daily moon phases website module, how to get a moon phases calendar software application, and other lunar phases information, including links.  


Free Daily Moon Phases Website Module

This "Current Moon" module provides basic information on the current moon phase. It is intended to be a helpful general reference.

You can put this moon phases module on your website.

If you don't operate a website, you can view the real-time moon module anytime from your computer by bookmarking the Current Moon Phase Page (link opens a new window; after it opens, bookmark the page using your web browser). Or you can add it to your Google home page.

In addition to a graphical picture, it provides:
  • the moon phase name / description, ("new moon", "waxing crescent", "first quarter moon", "waxing gibbous", "full moon", "waning gibbous", "third quarter moon", "waning crescent")
  • percent of full (how much of the viewable portion of the moon is illuminated)
How to get the Current Moon Phase module (including other options and sizes)
CURRENT MOON


Past & Future Moon Phase Calendars

The free moon module shown above is pretty useful. But if you'd like additional features like monthly calendars, upcoming full moon / new moon info, and other details, download a copy of QuickPhase for use anytime on your personal computer.

I created it, so I couldn't be biased :-) ... but it's a big time-saver if you're looking at the moon phases regularly. Plus it's attractive. Most other moon phases calendar applications are either unwieldy, ugly, complicated, or inconvenient because you have to access a website to use it. As I've used it, I found an unexpected side benefit -- a handy general purpose calendar for looking at future dates, since it seems like I never have a wall calendar.

Here are a few core features:
  • detail on current moon phases, like full moon percentage, when the next new or full moon is, etc
  • thousands of years of past and future moon phases calendars, so you can:
  • find past moon phases back to 0AD
  • find future moon phases to the year 4999

Moon Phase Screensavers & Moon Products

Take a look at these 3D moon screensavers, software and other moon products. Some great gift ideas! The 3D screen savers are amazing.
 

Brief Explanation of the Moon Phases

The phases of the moon are caused by the relative positions of the earth, sun, and moon. The moon goes around the earth in 27.3 days, or 27 days 7 hours 43 minutes, on average. This measurement is relative to the stars and is called the sidereal period or orbital period. However, because of the earth's motion around the sun, a complete moon cycle (New Moon to New Moon) appears to earthbound observers to take a couple of days longer: 29.5305882 days to be exact. This number is called the synodic period or "lunation", and is relative to the sun.

The sun always illuminates the half of the moon facing the sun (except during lunar eclipses, when the moon passes through the earth's shadow). When the sun and moon are on opposite sides of the earth, the moon appears "full" to us, a bright, round disk. When the moon is between the earth and the sun, it appears dark, a "new" moon. In between, the moon's illuminated surface appears to grow (wax) to full, then decreases (wanes) to the next new moon. The edge of the shadow (the terminator) is always curved, being an oblique view of a circle, giving the moon its familiar crescent shape.

(some of above information courtesy of NASA http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov)

New Moon
New Moon
Waxing Crescent
Waxing Crescent
First Quarter
First Quarter
Waxing Gibbous
Waxing Gibbous
Full Moon
Full Moon
Waning Gibbous
Waning Gibbous
Last Quarter
Last Quarter
Waning Crescent
Waning Crescent


Other Lunar Phases Information
(all links open in the same new window)

NASA, USNO
USNO moon phase data - U.S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department website, a great all-around online tool for "raw" data and information about the sun, moon, and stars

NASA Lunar Prospector Mission - a look at the events surrounding the first NASA Moon mission in 25 years! Lots of information and pictures.

moon pictures - very interesting lunar images! This NASA page has over 130 pictures (thumbnails) of the moon. Click on a thumbnail to for more info. Close-ups of the surface of the moon, distance views, astronauts, moon landings, more.
Lunar Eclipse Information
Mr. Eclipse - breathtaking eclipse photos, both lunar and solar, probably the best eclipse photography site anywhere

International Occultation Timing Association - An index and information site, a more technical and in-depth look at lunar (and other) eclipses
Education / Classroom Moon Phases Activities
K-12 lunar phases activity from NASA - rather than use chalkboard diagrams to illustrate the phases, this activity uses actual objects (pencil, styrofoam ball) to help students grasp the concepts; Newton's Apple has a similar but more detailed moon phase lesson plan for elementary-age students

lunar phases explanation from factmonster.com - here's a good basic overview of the phases of the moon from the Family Education Network

phases of the moon online movie - this is a short movie taught by a Newton's Apple scientist and a professional astronomer in an interesting, conversational manner, using large 3-D moon and earth spheres and simulated sunlight to demonstrate how the moon phases work

Earth-Moon-Sun system video diagrams - from NOAO (National Optical Astronomy Observatory), these QuickTime online video clips and animations are an excellent way to illustrate the moon's phases
There are many theories and thoughts about the effects of the moon on people, animals, and the natural world. Here are a few interesting links:
moon and the tides - this is a concise page on how the moon affects the tides by its phase (full moon, new moon, etc) and its position (perigee, apogee)

how moon phases affect animals - discusses the "Solunar Theory" that affects fishing and hunting activities

the real scoop on moon phases - another article on how the moon phases affect angling

Other:
all about the moon - here's a website you'll want to watch for almost anything moon related including a moon phases calendar

For more information, try a Google search of this website:

 



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