How long does a moon phase last
Moon phase guide

How long does a moon phase last?

Over the course of a lunar month, the Moon goes through regular changes called phases. Each phase gradually changes the fraction of its illuminated face that is presented to an observer on Earth.

These phases are a product of the Moon’s orbit around Earth, which allows different parts of its surface to be illuminated at certain times. Each phase is a separate lunar cycle and lasts approximately 29 1/2 days.

Full Moon

As the Moon orbits Earth, it appears in different phases – from new to full, through waxing (growing) and waning (shrinking). These phases depend on the relative positions of the Sun, Earth and Moon.

The full moon occurs when the side of the Moon that is illuminated by sunlight is symmetrically facing the Earth. This is opposite to the way that the Moon appears when it is new and in darkness, and it is a visually striking moment when the entire moon is illuminated by sunlight.

But, not all full moons are perfectly “full”. The Moon orbits around Earth on an elliptical path. As it travels, the Moon rocks slightly from north to south and wobbles a little from east to west.

This motion is called lunar libration, and it allows us to see up to 59% of the Moon’s surface from Earth.

However, the Moon only reflects about half of the light it receives from the Sun. The other half, which is in shadow, is refracted back into the night part of Earth’s atmosphere.

When the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon at a full moon, it is called a lunar eclipse. A rare type of lunar eclipse, known as a blue moon, can occur when two full Moons appear in one month.

New Moon

The new moon is the time of the month when the Sun and Moon share the same celestial longitude (a position called a conjunction). It’s an opportunity to set intentions, plan projects, begin something new, and reflect.

It’s also a great time to let go of old habits, release old patterns and behaviors that don’t serve you. This is a time to make space for your new growth and celebrate it.

If you’re feeling restless, it’s a good time to spend a few days in bed, doing nothing. Then, you’ll be ready to start the next phase of the moon cycle with an open mind and heart.

You can use this as a chance to set clear intentions and to make a ritual to keep your energy strong throughout the month. This can be anything from meditating to taking a yoga class, creating a crystal grid, or cleansing your home with essential oils.

How long a moon phase lasts depends on several factors. For example, the length of the lunation can vary by as much as 13 hours when the new moon occurs near perihelion (when Earth is closest to the Sun in its orbit), or more than 14 hours when the new moon occurs near apogee (when Earth is farthest from the Sun).

First Quarter

The First Quarter is the first moon phase in a lunar cycle. It occurs around one week after the New Moon and is called a half moon because only 50% of the Moon’s surface appears illuminated by the Sun during this phase.

During this phase, the Moon is positioned at a right angle with respect to the Sun when viewed from Earth. The side that faces Earth is illuminated, causing it to appear brighter in the sky.

It rises highest at sunset, sets about six hours later and is a major landmark in the nighttime sky. It is also the longest phase in the lunar cycle.

When the First Quarter moon phase ends, it’s time to move on to the next phase of the lunar cycle – the Full Moon. The Full Moon is the most prominent of all the moon phases and it’s one that we usually associate with celebration.

The First Quarter is an important phase in the lunar calendar as it represents a great turning point. It is a time when you may feel like you’re in the midst of something exciting, but you’ll also be feeling a certain amount of tension as you approach your goal.

Last Quarter

As the moon orbits around Earth it appears to get lighter and thinner each night. At the last quarter phase, one half of its disc is fully illuminated and the other half is in darkness. The lighted area slowly begins to shrink from left to right, until a thin crescent remains on the right side of the Moon.

During this phase, you can see the Moon rising after sunset and setting around midnight in the Northern Hemisphere. It will also be visible to the southwest after sunrise in the Southern Hemisphere.

It’s at this point that the waning crescent phase is a beautiful time to check in with yourself and make sure your goals are aligned with your ultimate vision. It’s also a great time to start a new wellness routine, take action on your dream job or simply recharge your batteries with some restorative energy.

The last quarter of the lunar cycle is a time to release and forgive those things that no longer serve you well, so you can move on to the next chapter of your life. For Linn, the last quarter phase helped her to release a fantasy of what her mother would have wanted from her and allowed her to see the truth of her relationship with her mom. It was a powerful experience and brought her back to her true self, freeing up her psychic energy so she could find new meaning in her life.

Waxing Crescent

The waxing crescent moon phase is an intermediate stage between the new and full moons. It can be seen in the night sky after sunset and typically sets before midnight.

The Waxing Crescent lasts for about 7.38 days before the next full moon. The area illuminated on the moon during this phase is in the shape of a crescent and the amount of sunlight reflecting off of the moon decreases.

This Moon phase is called a Waxing Crescent because the illuminated area on the Moon is increasing, as opposed to a Waning Gibbous, which has more than 50% of its surface being illuminated.

As you can see, the Waxing Crescent phase is an important step in the Moon cycle before we get to the New Moon, which is a time of fresh start and optimism. It also gives you the chance to reflect on your recent experiences and let go of any negative emotions or feelings.

You may be looking for ways to release anything that is no longer serving you, like old clothes, makeup, or friendships. This Moon phase is a great time to cleanse and purge, so that you can create a clean slate for the new season ahead.

Waxing Gibbous

The waxing gibbous moon is part way between a first quarter and a full moon. This phase of the cycle happens once every 29.5 days, according to the Lunar and Planetary Institute.

During this time, the area of light that illuminates the moon’s Earth-side surface increases. This is why the phase is called a “waxing moon.”

It’s important to know how long a moon phase lasts, so you can recognize when it’s about to change and get in the right mindset. This is especially true if you have something special that’s about to happen in your life, like a wedding or a baby!

This is also a good time to evaluate what you have accomplished and take stock of your strengths. Then, determine what you need to focus on in the next few days to complete your goals and projects.

If you’re feeling the urge to change direction in your life, this is a great time to do it. But keep in mind that changing your course will mean taking some risks and making sacrifices, so be sure to carefully consider which things are near completion before launching into action.

Waning Crescent

As the Moon continues on its journey around Earth, it slowly shrinks until only a tiny fraction of its disk reflects sunlight. This happens during the Waning Crescent phase and is a good time to observe the Moon.

During this stage, the Moon is less than a quarter away from completing an orbit around Earth. In fact, it is closer to completing this orbit than when it was just after the New Moon.

When the Moon is in this stage, it will gradually reveal less and less of its lighted portion, which means that it will be visible less and less every night until it is completely dark. The lighted portion will be on the side of the Moon that faces towards the Earth, and the other side will be in darkness.

A waning crescent moon will appear higher on summer days (August 7 in the Northern Hemisphere and February 4 in the Southern Hemisphere) than it does during winter days (February 4 in the Northern Hemisphere and August 7 in the Southern Hemisphere). This is because it is nearing completion of its lunar cycle.

The curved sickle shape of the waning crescent is similar to that of a waxing crescent. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, the part that is always waxing is on the right side of the Moon. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, it is on the left side.