During mitosis, a cell enlarges, splits and multiplies DNA, and then separates into two daughter cells. During this reproductive cycle, the cell goes through five different phases.
The five main phases of mitosis are prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase. Some mitosis timelines include interphase, where the cell begins preparing to undergo mitosis. Prophase is the official start of mitosis, and during this step duplicated DNA strands condense into a more compact form and take on the traditional X shape of chromosomes.
During prometaphase, the membrane around the cell's nucleus dissolves so that the chromosomes can move into place at the center of the cell. Spindle fibers align the chromosomes in the center of the nucleus during metaphase. This phase is essential to the health of the daughter cells, since it lines the chromosomes up evenly so they can be easily split in the next phase.
Anaphase is the phase where two different cells start truly forming. The chromosomes are pulled apart, and half of each chromosome is pulled to separate ends of the cell, creating two bundles of chromosomes.
In telophase, these bundles of chromosomes are enclosed in a new nuclear membrane. Once safely enclosed, the chromosomes break up again and lose their compact look. Finally, in cytokinesis the two sides break apart to create two new identical daughter cells.