Phases and Eclipses

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The moon has different phases, which are the new moon, full moon, first quarter, third quarter, and the phases in between. The new moon occurs when the moon is positioned between the earth and the sun. The full moon is when the earth, moon and the sun are all aligned but the moon is on the opposite side of the earth. The first and third quarter moons which are called half moons, happen when the moon is at a ninety degree angle with the earth and sun. The moon's phases are a result of the moon's orbit around the earth as it reflects the sun's light. The lunar phases vary cyclically as the Moon orbits the Earth, according to the changing relative positions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun (Understanding The Moon Phases). A solar eclipse can only occur at new moon when the moon passes between the earth and sun. New moon occurs every twenty nine and a half days, but a solar eclipse doesn’t happen every month because the moon’s orbit around earth is tilted five degrees to earth’s orbit around the sun. The moons shadow usually misses earth as it passes above or below earth at new moon. New moon is usually seen about twice a year because the moons shadow falls on earth’s surface (Solar Eclipses for Beginners). Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse can only occur at full moon, and only if the moon passes through some portion of the earth’s shadow. The shadow is composed of two cone-shaped components, which is where one is nested inside the other. The outer component is called the penumbral shadow and is the zone where the earth blocks part but not all of the sun’s rays from reaching the moon. The inner component is called the umbral shadow which is the region where the earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the moon (Lunar Eclipses for Beginners). A gibbous phase moon appears high in the east at sunset and it’s more than half lighted but less than full. It comes

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