The Moon And Tides Observation Essay

1252 words - 6 pages

An observation of the Moon was conducted from Friday, November 8, 2013 to Thursday, November 14, 2013. The study of the Moon during this period occurred consistently between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. EST within the Northern Hemisphere at 37.3346° N, 79.5228° W (Bedford, V.A.). The Moon was noted to be illuminated on the right side and had a dark shadow on the left side indicating a waxing phase. The light region grew over the surface of the Moon with each subsequent night. The first night’s phase was waxing crescent with over 25 percent of the Moon lit up. The next night, the light had grown to cover more of the Moon as it continued through its waxing crescent phase. On November 10th, the Moon exhibited traits of being at first-quarter or half-moon status because at least 50 percent of its surface was illuminated. In the following nights, the Moon displayed characteristics of waxing gibbous as the light continued to grow across the moon’s surface from right to left. The Moon was nearing closer to the full moon phase on November 14th as only a very small dark shadow was visible on the left side.
The Moon takes 27.3 days (sidereal month) to complete its actual orbit around the Earth. Like the Sun, the Moon rises in the east and sets in the west each day. The timing of the moonrise and moonset depends on the phase of the Moon and occurs about 50 minutes later with each successive day. A person on Earth can only see part of the Moon illuminated by the Sun, which can be as much as 59 percent of the Moon’s surface depending upon its phase. The remainder of the Moon’s surface never faces towards the Earth due to the Moon’s rotation being the exact same speed as its orbit. The line that separates the illuminated portion of the Moon from the unilluminated portion is called the lunar terminator.
The Moon’s phases change in respect to the position of the Earth, Sun, and Moon. The lunar month, or the period it takes to cycle through each phase and back again, is 29.5 days (synodic month). The lunar phases are new moon, waxing crescent, first-quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third-quarter (or last-quarter), waning crescent, and new moon.
The new moon is the first phase of the lunar cycle. It occurs when the Moon and Sun are lined up on the same side of the Earth so that the moon is not visible from Earth. Next, the waxing crescent moon phase is displayed whereby the Moon’s surface is less than half lit up. The word waxing means that the light side of the Moon is moving towards the full moon phase. A person viewing the Moon from the Northern Hemisphere will see a waxing moon if any portion of the left side of the Moon is dark and the right side is illuminated. If the Moon is observed on consecutive nights during the waxing phase, they will notice that the light section of the Moon is actually growing during this phase. The next phase is the first quarter moon, which is often referred to as a half-moon because half of the Moon, the right...

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