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ASTRONOMY: 7. Explaining the phases of the Earth's moon

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Astronomy 7.

Explaining the phases of the Earth's moon

Phases of the moon waxing waning as seen from Earth

In sequence as the Moon orbits the Earth in 28 days. The phases in sequence are:

1. new moon,  2. waxing crescent moon,  3.first quarter moon,  4. waxing gibbous moon

5. full moon,  6. waning gibbous moon,  7. third quarter moon,  8. waning crescent moon


A few details about our moon

The gravitational field strength on the moon is much smaller than on Earth because of its much smaller mass.

Gravitational field strengths: Earth 9.8 m/s2 or 9.81 N/kg;  Moon 1.62 m/s2 or 1.62 N/kg (~1/6th of Earth)

The moon does NOT have an atmosphere, its mass, and hence its gravity, is too low to hold on to an atmosphere.

There are no sedimentary rocks on the moon because there is no atmosphere, so there has been no weather to bring about weathering, erosion, transportation, deposition and compression to form sedimentary rocks.

There will be metamorphic rocks on the moon because there is evidence of volcanic activity and even igneous rocks when heated can re-crystallise to form a 'new' metamorphic rock.

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Keywords, phrases and learning objectives for astronomy

With the help of a diagram be able to explaining the phases of the moon.

Know the moon has a much weaker gravitational field (1/6th of Earth), geologically the rocks are similar to those found on Earth (but no sedimentary rocks) and the moon has no atmosphere.


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