The moon goes through 8 phases in 29.5 days, exactly, not quite 30, but close enough.
The new moon phase is the first. When the moon is not visible in the sky, it is said to be a new moon. The waxing crescent phase is the second phase. When the moon is visible in the sky and becoming larger, it is said to be waxing. The first quarter phase is the third phase. The moon is half visible in the sky during the first quarter. The waxing gibbous phase is the fourth phase. When the moon is waxing gibbous, it is visible in the sky and growing larger. The full moon is the sixth phase. When the moon is fully visible in the sky, it is said to be full. The waning gibbous phase is the sixth phase. When the moon is waning gibbous, it is visible in the sky and getting smaller. The third quarter phase is the seventh phase. The moon is halfway visible in the sky during the third quarter. The waning crescent phase is the eighth and final phase. The waning crescent takes place when the moon is visible in the sky but shrinking.
The moon has really been observed for as long as mankind have lived on Earth. The moon is the most visible celestial object in the night sky, and its phases have long been used to measure time. Throughout human history, the moon has also been the topic of myth and folklore.
The Babylonians made the first recorded observation of the moon around 700 BCE. They utilized it to forecast the shifting seasons and planet movements. The moon was also seen and used by the Ancient Greeks to keep time. Galileo Galilei conducted the first scientific study of the moon in 1609. He realized that the moon, rather than being a perfect sphere, was covered in mountains and craters.
Some moon myths include:
- Selene and Endymion: Selene, the moon goddess, falls in love with Endymion, a mortal shepherd. Selene begs Zeus to let Endymion slumber forever so he will never age or die.
- Tiresias and Luna: The goddess Luna turns the mortal Tiresias into a woman. Tiresias reverts to his human form after seven years.
- The Man in the Moon is a fictional character that is claimed to live on the moon. He is frequently regarded as a kindly person, yet he can also be regarded as a trickster.
Scientists continue to study the moon today. It is visited by robotic spacecraft, and its surface is meticulously photographed. Amateur astronomers enjoy visiting the moon as well.