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What are some features of a moon phase calendar?

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Quick Answer

One feature of a moon phase, or lunar, calendar is that it lists the lunar phases for each day of the month. Another feature is that a lunar calendar sometimes includes extra months so that it synchronizes with solar calendars.

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Full Answer

The oldest lunar calendar dates back to 8,000 B.C. It was found in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Lunar calendars detail the moon phases or the illuminated portion of the Moon visible from Earth as it orbits around the planet. The sun lights certain portions of the moon depending on the positions of the Moon, Sun and Earth in the sky. The combination of both lit and unlit portions of the moon gives the moon its phases.

The Moon has eight phases. New moon occurs when the Moon is between the Sun and the Earth. However, the side visible from Earth is the backside of the Moon, so the Moon appears dark. During a full moon, the Moon, Sun, and Earth are aligned, but the Moon is on the opposite side of Earth, which makes the lit side of the Moon visible from Earth.

The half Moons occur when the Moon is at a 90 degree angle compared to the Earth and Sun. These half moon stages are called first quarter and third quarter. Waxing crescent and waxing gibbous both refer to stages in between when the moon is increasing in size. Waning crescent and waning gibbous refer to the stages in which the moon is decreasing in size.

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