Moon Phase Terminology

By Psyche | January 17, 2001

New Moon:

The Moon is not illuminated by direct sunlight. Here, the Moon is Maiden.

Waxing Crescent:

The visible Moon is partly but less than one-half illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is increasing. The Moon is Maiden.

First Quarter:

One-half of the Moon appears illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is increasing. The Moon here is Maiden/Mother.

Waxing Gibbous:

The Moon is more than one-half but not fully illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is increasing. Three days before the Full Moon. The Moon here is Mother.

Full Moon:

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The visible Moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight. Here the Moon is Mother.

Waning Gibbous:

The Moon is less than fully but more than one-half illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing. Three days after the Full Moon. The Moon here is Mother.

Waning Crescent:

The Moon is partly but less than one-half illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing. The Moon here is Mother/Crone.

Last Quarter:

One-half of the Moon appears illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing. Here, the Moon is Crone.

Because of the fact that the Moon takes an average of 29.5 days (not 28 days as most people think) to orbit the earth we can have either 12 or 13 full moons in a year.

In the case where we have a 13th full moon in a year (2 full moons in one month) the second full moon in the same month is called a “Blue Moon”.

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