Q:

Where does "gibbous moon" mean?

A:

Quick Answer

The term "gibbous moon" refers to the phase of the moon's cycle when more than half but less than all of the moon is illuminated by the sun, making it visible from Earth. A gibbous moon can be either waxing or waning, explains Universe Today.

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Full Answer

The gibbous moon phase occurs twice in each complete lunar cycle. As the moon transitions from a new moon to a full moon, the moon undergoes a waxing gibbous phase prior to becoming a full moon. As the cycle reverses, the moon becomes a waning gibbous moon as it transitions from a full moon to a third quarter moon.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why are we able to see different phases of the moon?

    A:

    The moon orbits around the Earth on a 29 day cycle. Half of the moon is always lit by the sun's rays but different amounts of this illumination can be seen from Earth depending on the angle the moon makes with the sun relative to the Earth.

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  • Q:

    How much of the moon is always lit by the sun?

    A:

    Half of the moon is always lit by the sun, unless the sun is eclipsed by the Earth. The portion of the illuminated moon viewed from Earth depends on the moon's orbit. As the moon orbits, different portions of shadow and illumination are seen from Earth, creating the moon's phases.

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    Why does the moon appear bright?

    A:

    The moon appears bright because the side visible on Earth reflects the light from the sun. As the moon and the Earth move around their respective orbits, different portions of the moon are visible to people on Earth, depending on the angle at which the light hits the moon and reflects back to Earth. The moon reflects back about 12 percent of the light from the sun that hits it.

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  • Q:

    Why do we have moon phases?

    A:

    Moon phases occur because the angle of the Earth, moon and sun changes as the moon orbits the Earth. One-half of the moon is always illuminated by the sun. As a person's angle of sight changes, different portions of sunlight and shadow are observed on the moon's surface.

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