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What Did The Moon Look Like Last Night?

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Arianna Vaccaro Profile
Arianna Vaccaro answered
What the moon looked like last night is a fascinating question, and the answer will differ depending on what time of year it is and where you are.

As the moon moves round the earth, the amount of it we can see from any point on earth changes, depending on how the moon, the earth and the sun are lined up in the sky.

The bit of the moon that we can see is lit up by the sun; the part of the moon facing the sun reflects the sun’s rays, meaning we can see it. The rest of the moon is hidden from the sun’s rays by the earth itself, so we can’t see it.

After around 30 days, the moon will grow from being a thin crescent in the sky to a full round disc (known as a full moon) then shrink back down again to a thin crescent, before disappearing. The changing shape of the Moon that we can see is called it’s phase.

DThere are eight phases of the moon, from new (no moon can be seen) through waxing crescent (getting bigger), 1st quarter, waxing gibbous, full, then as it gets smaller again waning gibbous, last quarter and waning crescent.  

The way the phases look is different in the north and south hemisphere. If you are in, say the UK, you will see the left hand side of the moon as you look at it appear first as the thin crescent (so it looks like a C shape); if you are in, say, Australia, you will see the right hand side appear first!

This is basically because we are looking at the moon from different perspectives - effectively people in Australia see the moon upside down from the point of view of someone in the UK.  
If you were near the equator last night, the moon might have looked different again - the crescents actually look like smiles and frowns, rather than a C or backwards C.

So depending on where you were last night, the moon could have looked like a C, a fat D, a full circle, a backwards C or fat D, a smile, a frown or even not appeared at all!
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Anonymous answered
The moon looked like it was a Full Moon but it was really just an almost Full Moon called a Waxing Gibbous.
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Anonymous answered
It was a full moon.
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Anonymous answered
At some time last night the moon had a shadow like the start of an eclipse why ?

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