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It’s fascinating to watch how the moon changes over a month.For a couple days, it is a full bright circle. Then, it begins to shrink, until only a tiny crescent remains.Then, it disappears all together.Then, it appears again, growing a little bigger each night, until it is full again. What’s going on?First of all, the changes in the amount of the moon’s surface that is lit up over the course of a month are called phases.The next thing to know is that the light we see coming from the moon isn’t moonlight at all, it is sunlight.The moon does not emit any light itself.The Sun’s light is reflected from the surface of the Moon to us.Because the positions of the Earth, Moon and Sun vary throughout the course of the month,the amount of the moon’s surface that we can see changesa little bit every night.When the surface of the side of the moon facing Earth is completely illuminated, we see a full moon.When none of the surface is illuminated and we can’t see the moon at all, the phase is a new moon. The phases when half the side of the moon facing Earth is lit up are called the first and third quarters.When the visible moon seems to be getting bigger, we say it is waxing, when the visible lighted surface seems to be getting smaller, we say the moon is waning. When less than half of the visible moon is lit, it’s called a crescent, and when it’s more than half, it’s called a gibbous.

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Fecha publicación: 12.5.2016

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