Moon Phases Names – an easy way to remember

The 8 Moon Phases Names

Here are the “official” 8 Moon Phases in order:

  1. New – the new moon is not visible
  2. Waxing Crescent – the Moon starts growing
  3. First Quarter – the moon looks like half a circle
  4. Waxing Gibbous – still growing
  5. Full – we see the entire circle of the Moon lit up
  6. Waning Gibbous – the Moon starts shrinking
  7. Third Quarter – again only half a circle is visible
  8. Waning Crescent – the Moon is about to disappear
  9. New (again) – the new Moon is not visible 
The Moon Phases names in the correct order showing the progression from new moon, through waxing moons, to full moon, then back down through waning moons, to new moon again in a cycle
The Moon Phases in left-to-right order with the official names – you might sometimes see “last quarter” used where the correct name is “third quarter.”

Moon phase names – The Moon Hat 

The Moon Hat is no ordinary hat - it makes a great science gift - it teaches you how to remember the phases of the Moon.
The Moon Hat is a science gift for the curious. Precisely placed Moon phases “point” to the Moon in the sky and help you find it day or night.

Buy a Moon Hat (a great science gift made by Star In A Star – order today and get FREE shipping), you can learn all about the Moon phases every time you wear the hat. The Moon Hat is a scientific “moon-finder” instrument that helps you locate the Moon in the sky day or night.

The Moon Hat is one in a line of “Science Clothing – clothing that makes you smarter!” It was invented and is made and sold by Daniel Cummings – the owner of this website and the author of this blog.

Play with the Moon Phases in order from right to left

This is a “physical model” of the Moon’s phase changes. Move the mouse Right to Left.

Each day the Moon moves leftward (east) through the sky – for people looking at it from the northern hemisphere. As it moves through a 29.5 day orbit, the Moon grows and then shrinks again. It starts New, grows Full, then wanes to New again.

Move your mouse from right to left on these Moon Phase emojis to recreate the correct order of phases as the Moon moves in its orbit.

Remember the 8 Moon phases

The main Moon Phase cycle is very simple and symmetrical:

New -> WAXING -> Full -> WANING -> New.

Studying for a Moon Phases quiz?

You can shorten the Moon phase names to: “Never can quit getting food” = NCQGF

NCQGF = New, Crescent, Quarter, Gibbous, Full

Just remember that sequence of letters: NCQGF. That gives you the order of the waxing phases, then reverse it to get the waning phases: FGQCN. The good thing about this sequence of letters is that you just have to memorize it one way! During your Moon Phases quiz you can write it down and then reverse it.

FGQCN = Full, Gibbous, Quarter, Crescent, New

The list of 8 Moon phases to memorize

The Moon Phases happen in a cycle that repeats.

New, wax crescent, 1st quarter, waxing gibbous,
Full, waning gibbous, 3rd quarter, waning crescent,
New (again).

What is Waxing and What is Waning

Waxing = growing

Waning = shrinking.

You can remember wax and wane because wax is growing like putting layers of wax on something. Like in the old Karate Kid movie “wax on.”

A mnemonic – DOC – will help you learn the Moon phases names

Here’s a good way to remember the order of the Moon phases if you have to choose the phase name based on an image of the phase: DOC. 

The three letter word DOC is a good mnemonic for remembering the Moon phases names and how they grow first and then shrink. It’s a “shape-ronym” –  I have a feeling I just invented that name – it’s where the letter shapes help you remember something.

If the Moon phase is shaped like the letter D that means it is growing (waxing). If the Moon phase is shaped like the letter C that means it is shrinking (waning). If it’s shaped like the letter O – it is full: in between waxing (D) and waning (C).

You can remember that “light starts on the right” of the waxing crescent, then it grows to full, then shrinks to the crescent where “the only light left is on the left.”

Moon phases names in order make the shapes of the letters DOC in order - it's a good mnemonic to remember the phases of the Moon and whether it is waxing or waning

NOTE: if you are in the southern hemisphere the mnemonic is COD because the Moon is Upside Down.

Start – The Waxing Moon D

As soon as the growing (waxing) Moon becomes a Waxing Crescent Moon we can see that the shape of the lit up part of the crescent can make the capital letter D. As the Moon grows through to Waxing Gibbous phase it is still shaped like a capital D.

Middle – The Full Moon O

The Full Moon is shaped like a capital O.

End – The Waning Moon C

The waning phases make the shape like a capital C.

Moon Phases Names patterns

Here are a some interesting patterns in the Moon phases names.

  1. The cycles repeat – New to Full to New (again).
  2. The Moon grows (waxes) and then shrinks (wanes) again. Why doesn’t the Moon grow to a Full Moon and then just blink out and start again… or maybe it could stay the same shape all the time… so many possibilities… why does it grow and then shrink?
  3. The New Moon is the commonly accepted “beginning” and also the “end” of the cycle.
  4. Gibbous is a really weird word – it is from the Latin “hunch or hump.”
  5. There is a first and third quarter, but no 0th or 4th quarter.
  6. Wax and Wane are more weird, old words – they are words originally handed down from the ancient language Sanskrit that made their way through history to old German and finally to old English.

The Moon’s Missing Quarters, weird

What’s the deal with First Quarter and Third Quarter?

Astronomy names can be unusual sometimes. The Moon has a “First Quarter” and a “Third Quarter”… but it has no “Second Quarter” and no “Fourth Quarter” or “Zeroth Quarter.”

The Second Quarter would be the Full Moon but we don’t use that name. But, then what would the New Moon be called? Is it the Zeroth (0th) quarter or the Fourth (4th) Quarter? Is the New Moon the beginning or the end of the orbit? Based on the more common name it should be called the zeroth quarter because it is the “New” part of the orbital cycle. Zero = nothing and during the New Moon there is no Moon visible.

The Moon is at “First Quarter” but its shape is half a moon!

This is kind of strange too: the moon looks like a “half moon” two times during the moon’s cycle. It is a half moon as it grows (waxes) and becomes a half moon again when it shrinks (wanes). The moon is clearly showing half a moon.

Confusingly, astronomers actually call the “half moon” a “quarter moon.”

Regular people call it a “half moon” even though astronomers call it a quarter moon. We should all call the first quarter moon the “waxing half moon” and the third quarter moon the “waning half moon.” But, these are not common names at all!

Actually, I’d like to call the first quarter (waxing half moon) the “Earth’s tail moon” and the third quarter (waning half moon) the “Earth’s nose moon.” These names point out a neat fact about the Moon’s orbit – it crosses the Earth’s orbit twice a month – once at first quarter, then again at third quarter.

Anyway, why do astronomers call a half moon the quarter moon?

Astronomers use the quarters to talk about the orbit of the Moon and its location in the orbital path. The name “quarter” says “the Moon is a quarter of the way through its orbit now.”

The moon phases names are odd

How to remember the phases of the moon? Let’s face it, the Moon phases are named with really old words – the kind of words we don’t really use anymore, but we are stuck with them because the Moon is kind of important and we can’t just ignore it.

Here is a good way to think about the words tied to the phases of the Moon. These words describe 4 things: the “age” of the Moon, the apparent “shape” of the Moon, its direction of growth, and its location in its orbit around the Earth:

Age, Shape, Growth, Orbit

These words describe the “Age” of the Moon: new moon, quarter moon,

These word describe the “Shape” of the Moon: half moon, full moon, gibbous moon and crescent moon.

These words describe the “Growth” of the Moon: waxing (growing) moon and waning (shrinking) moon,

This word describes the Orbit of the Moon: quarter moon.

The Moon moves in orbit

Each day, the Moon moves along an orbit that carries it around the Earth. It takes about 29.5 days for the Moon to make a complete trip from one New Moon to the next New Moon.

Each day the Moon moves about 1/27th of the sky: 360˚/27.5 days = 13.1˚ per day. This is about the distance between your index finger and your pinky held up at to the sky at arms length. The Moon moves eastward each day toward the dawn.

The Sun is always lighting up half of the Moon.

The light of the Sun always comes from one place – the Sun! Light from the Sun hits the Moon and lights up half of the Moon at all times.

However, it is not always the same half that we are looking at from Earth. The Moon shows us only part of its bright side for most of its 29.5 day orbit. It’s only during the Full Moon that we see the entire “half” illuminated Moon.

The Moon seems to change shape

The Moon changes phase because the Moon moves. As it moves, we see different light from the Sun reflecting off the Moon every second. The amount of light we can see changes every second as it moves through space around the Earth.

A fun and easy thing to watch with a telescope is to look at the Moon and see the Sun’s light casting changing shadows on the Moon.

Summary

This article summarized the names of the phases of the Moon and pointed out some interesting patterns. You learned a mnemonic (shape-ronym) device to help remember the order of the Moon phases.

Zodiac Wavy Charts User Guide

I want to share this amazing object with you.

It’s a skeleton key to the sky. It’s a poster. It’s a tome.

Guy Ottewell’s Zodiac Wavy Chart 2019 poster

Guy Ottewell’s Zodiac Wavy chart poster.

This poster is HUGE. 24 inches wide x 36 inches tall. Also, it’s glossy and beautiful and full of engrossing details. You will return to this poster month after month and dwell on the intricate and scientifically-accurate renderings.

It is like a Moon Calendar but it shows the actual Moon position as well as its phase and date – plus it includes everything else in the sky. Best of all, it adds the “backdrop” of the zodiac constellations so you can see how everything moves among the stars.

The Zodiac Wavy Charts poster portrays the wildness of the Moon and its dynamic motion through the sky – all in a beautiful, informative, and rewarding wall hanging.

BUY the Zodiac Wavy Charts poster here – it’s on sale!

Guy Ottewell’s Zodiac Wavy Charts is a snapshot of the calendar month. Every day’s events are “layered” onto a wavy band. Think of those wavy charts in 3-dimensions: You can pluck one off the page, stitch it together into a ring, enlarge it, and step inside it and you’ve got a view of the most interesting and active sky chart you’ve ever seen!

It’s Better than a Moon Calendar

Moon Calendar 2019

In a standard Moon Calendar the day squares contain the Moon phase images. The Moon images can be arranged artfully, but mostly they are placed to make the Moon conform to the month; the Moon gets “captured” into our cultural calendar. You can see the phase and the day the Moon phase will happen. This is good as far as it goes… but the Zodiac Wavy Charts poster is 100x better!

Guy Ottewell’s Zodiac Wavy Charts can tell you the day the Moon phase will happen. Also, it shows exactly where in the sky, and in which part of the Moon’s orbit it will happen. It tells you which part of the Moon is titled toward you, if it’s in an ascending or descending part of its orbit, and what constellation it is in.

This yearly calendar packs information that will teach you how to observe and will help you make sense of the sky. It’s like having an expert astronomer on-call all year long.

If you don’t have a Zodiac Wavy charts poster yet – you can order it here at Universal Workshop. The rest of this article will help people use the deep details on the poster to understand the motions of sky objects.

Quickstart Guide – Using the ZOD poster

Note: the Zodiac Wavy charts poster shows a northern hemisphere viewpoint. All writing here assumes you are in a northern hemisphere location.

Before you read this guide, please read Guy Ottewell’s text at the bottom of the poster. It explains many of the key items visible in the chart and serves as a legend. Guy’s writing provides a wonderful tour of the deep information revealed by these charts.

Unique Design Elements Tell the Story

The Sun’s movement in 1 month.

Guy uses clever graphic design techniques to communicate how things move in the sky. For instance, to indicate how far the Sun moves in a month he expands the Sun with concentric rings. This clearly shows the sky location on the 1st of the month (the right edge of the outer yellow ring), the 16th of the month (the central Sun image), and the last day of the month (the left edge of the yellow ring).

The Moon’s movement by day and libration.

Another unique design element (a variable-size red triangle) indicates the Moon’s current libration – tilt – towards or away from the Earth. Knowledge of the Moon’s libration helps observers see hidden Moon formations.

The Moon moves dynamically and this poster helps you really see that motion each day.

Spectral types shown on the poster.

Other things to note about the poster:

  • The stars are sized and colored to indicate their apparent magnitude and spectral class,
  • the constellation boundaries are indicated,
  • planetary retrograde motion is shown with variable-sized arrows, and
  • all solar eclipses and lunar eclipses are indicated.
The Astronomical Calendar Any Year has 20 pages of celestial events for 2019.

Guy also has prepared a detailed list of celestial events throughout the year that you can use to pinpoint on the Zodiac Wavy Charts. The Astronomical Calendar Any Year (or ACAY for short) has a FREE listing of celestial events. You can download the year’s worth of observing data in a PDF file from Guy’s website Universal Workshop.

Read the Charts from Right to Left

The Zodiac Wavy Chart should be read from right-to-left.

The Sun, Moon, and planets move (in general) from right to left across the sky. So too the Zodiac Wavy chart should be read from right to left. You can see the Moon phase images (and day numbers) grow from right-to-left. You can observe that the Sun moves from right-to-left over the month.

Sometimes when the Moon “overlaps” itself during a calendar month, the numbering looks a little funny – this happens because the calendar month is not the same as the Moon phase month (except February) the calendar month is always longer. This article about Blue Moons shows what happens when we try to squeeze the Moon into our monthly boxes.

The first and last wavy charts have lots of text indicating the constellation names, but the middle charts leave them out for clarity. If you want to find out which constellation a celestial object is “in” you can refer to the January or December charts.

Start with the Sun as the Anchor

Use the Sun as the anchor for understanding how to read the charts. Look to the left of the Sun image in each month. The space spanning 6 constellations to the left (east) of the Sun shows you the night sky at sunset. The space spanning 6 constellations to the right of the Sun shows you the pre-sunrise sky. The midnight sky is always centered about 6 constellations to the left of the Sun. You can imagine the whole of the night sky by centering your eye on the anti-Sun which shows the location of midnight on the 16th of the month.

The Sky at Midnight – Anti-Sun and the Full Moon

The anti-Sun indicates the meridian (the middle of the sky) at midnight. The anti-Sun also moves from right-to-left through the sky. It could be displayed with the same-sized concentric Sun rings. It marks midnight and you can see that the Full Moon is always close by.

Tilt the Poster to Line Up with the Sun

Here’s a fun idea: turn the poster sideways and place it on an east or west wall at sunset to “see” the star band lined up with the rising “anti-sun” (east wall) or the setting “sun” (west wall). Anchoring to the Sun or the Anti-Sun may help you visualize how the Zodiac Wavy Charts poster shows you the whole sky of Zodiac constellations all at the same time.

Why is it Wavy?

Why is the wavy chart wavy? It’s because of the way the ecliptic is tilted from the equator.

The meaning of the waves. It’s easier to imagine this if you think of the Equator as the horizontal and the plane of the solar system as tilted.

Eclipses – Every Six Months in the Same Sky

The location of eclipses = the location of node crossings = the location of the nodes = changes very, very slowly (18 years, 11 days, 8 hours to be exact).

Look at the eclipses – there are a few of them every year and 2019 is no exception! Notice that they all occur during the New Moon or the Full Moon and that they all occur in the constellations Gemini or Sagittarius. The reason the eclipses happen while the Moon or the Sun are in Gemini or Sagittarius is because of the Moon’s orbital nodes. These nodes are “in” these two constellations this year.

It’s not just the Moon that orbits the Earth, the Moon’s orbit nodes themselves actually orbit the Earth. This orbit of the nodes takes 18.6 years! The intersection with the lunar phase cycle and the orbit of the Moon’s apsides is the source of the famous Saros interval – where 2 similar eclipses occur.

So, if you buy the Zodiac Wavy Chart poster for the next 18 years, you’ll see the Moon’s orbital nodes – the location of eclipses – move through each of the fixed constellations!

Retrograde Motion – See it!

Planet motion is cool. Planets close to the Sun never cross the anti-sun, but outer planets do. This confused our ancient ancestors who did not realize that the planets were following an orbital path around the Sun at the same time that the Earth was following its own orbital path.

These two motions (the planet’s and the Earth’s) made it look like the planets sometimes moved backwards (retrograde)! You can find all of the retrograde motions easily and see exactly when and where they will happen.

Measurement – by Counting Constellations

Degree marking – the charts lack any of the standard degree measurements (Right Ascension/Declination or Altitude/Azimuth). This type of measurement is not really necessary for general use of these charts. This is because you can find these measurements in other places.

However, you may want to understand how big each section of the sky is compared to each section of the chart. You can think about it like this: there are 12 zodiac constellations (13 if you count Ophiuchus) and they span 360 degrees of the sky. We can see a bit less than 180 degrees of the sky at any one time so that’s about 6 visible constellations! Just count about 6 constellations and you’ll get about half the sky!

If you divide 360 degrees by 12, you get 30 degrees. So, an average constellation covers about 30 degrees of sky. And the sky moves at a rate of about 15 degrees per hour. That means it will take about 12 hours for the sky to completely change.

Want to figure out how big something is? Use your outstretched hand as a measuring tool. The distance from your thumb to your pinky (when your hand is fully-stretched out) is about 25 degrees – a little less than the average constellation width.

Analemma-ish

A subtle analemma appears.

One interesting after-effect of rendering the Sun’s position in this “wavy” way is that you can see an aspect of the analemma. The slight movement in the Sun’s position month over month traces a very slim half-analemma shape across the poster. There is a very slight speed up and slow down that you can see if you look closely.

Here is an image of the poster showing the slight but noticeable curve that the Sun makes.

Sidereal Map – the Stars Stand Still

These Zodiac Wavy Charts create a sidereal map of the sky. Sidereal refers to the fact that the background of stars remains fixed through every chart while all the other objects move through them.

What do you see?

There are hidden treasures all through this gorgeous image. Share them with us when you find them!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is the Zodiac Wavy Chart wavy? The charts are wavy because Guy wanted to show what was happening at the ecliptic. The ecliptic is tilted at 23.4˚ from Earth’s pole (90˚ from the equator). So, sometimes objects in the ecliptic are below the equator and sometimes they are above it.
  • What is the Zodiac? The zodiac is the collection of constellations that define the ecliptic. The zodiac constellations define a band of sky where the Sun, Moon, and planets can always be found. Fun fact: Zodiac comes from the same root word that Zoo does – and it’s called that because many of the constellations are animals.
  • Is this an astrology tool? No, this is a visual astronomy tool. Astrologers will certainly find this a useful poster to refer to, but it is designed for visual astronomy observation assistance.
  • What can I use this for? This astronomy poster is useful for many things! Mostly, it’s a beautiful wall hanging that will draw your eye and reveal the deep celestial mechanics behind our Earth’s motion through the solar system each year. It’s also a wonderful conversation piece. Try telling people “It’s like a Moon Calendar, but it works for everything else in the sky too!”
  • Can I order this Zodiac poster internationally? Yes – you may have to pay a little extra shipping and sometimes customs duties, but the poster can be shipped almost anywhere.
  • Does the site accept purchase orders? No, Universal Workshop does not accept purchase orders. You can pay by credit, debit, or paypal.
  • Can I order a 2020 poster now? Yes! Please contact Guy [at] Universal Workshop [daht] com or visit UniversalWorkshop.com and make a comment on one of the recent blog posts.
  • Can I order in bulk? Yes! Contact Guy Ottewell for details.

References

NASA Saros page – https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEsaros/SEperiodicity.html

Precession of the apsides – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apsidal_precession

10 ways to wear a Moon Hat

Wear the Moon Hat – have fun!

The Moon Hat is no ordinary hat. 

The Moon Hat keeps your head warm – yes!  And, every day it gently reminds you to be curious about the Moon. It reminds you to observe what usually stays hidden. It reminds you to #doscienceeveryday.

There are many ways to wear a Moon Hat. You can wear the Moon Hat in at least 10 different ways. The Moon Hat is made of soft stretchy fleece with small embroidered Moon phase images placed all around the brim.

The Moon Hat fabric is flexible and foldable.

10 ways to wear the Moon Hat

  • Moon Finder – where is the Moon right now
  • Phase Reminder – what is the Moon phase right now
  • Hidden Moon outside – hide the moons outside
  • Hidden Moon inside – hide the moons inside
  • Tidal Shores no tag – longshoreman style
  • Tidal Shores show tag – longshoreman style
  • Moon Slouch – Moon Finder, pull the fleece backward
  • Moon Beret – Moon Finder, pull the fleece forward
  • Moon Disk – Hidden Moon inside, show one embroidered disk
  • Moon Peeker – Hidden Moon inside, peek one embroidered disk
  • Halfsies (Bonus #11) – Hide half the phases, wear the hat straight

#1 – The Moon Finder

The Moon Hat style The Moon Finder. This is the standard style for wearing the Moon hat. The phases are oriented in the correct way and you can face the Sun and find the Moon using the Moon Hat moon phase images.

The standard way to wear the Moon Hat with the new Moon image in front. This creates the model of the Moon, Earth, Sun relationship and helps you understand how the motions of the Moon create the phases that we see from Earth.

Get the current Moon phase. Put the hat on with the New Moon image on your forehead. Face the Sun. Now, all of the Moon phase images point to where the Moon is in the sky. Amazing!

#2 – The Phase Reminder

The Moon Hat style The Phase Reminder This is another standard style for wearing the Moon hat. The current phase is oriented to the front and you can face the Moon and find the Sun using the Moon Hat New Moon phase image.

This everyday style is for people who want to remind themselves of the phases of the Moon and how they change over the 29 and a half days of the cycle. Just choose a Moon phase and put it at the front.

This is a subtle way to keep track of the Moon phases and learn their sky location. Before you put on the hat, pause for a second and consider which phase to wear. And, it doesn’t feel like a Moon phase quiz – it’s fun to put your thinking cap on!

#3 – Hidden Moon outside

Man wearing the Moon Hat hiding all the embroidered images of the Moon Phases. Sometimes you just want to wear a cap.

Don’t want any Moon phases to show? Just fold up the brim toward the outside of the hat and all of the Moon phase images disappear.

Sometimes a hat is just a hat.

#4 – Hidden Moon inside

Moon phase images are all hidden by folding the brim of the Moon Hat inside the hat. It gives a slightly exotic look to the cap.

Another way to hide the Moon phase images… tuck the brim of the Moon Hat towards the inside. All the Moon phase embroidery is now hidden and you have a sleek cap.

Looking for a unique style? The Moon Hat is flexible.

#5 – Tidal Shores no tag

The Moon Hat style the Tidal Shore No Tag - the hat starts inside out and the brim is folded up to reveal the images. This is another standard style for wearing the Moon hat. The New Moon image is oriented to the front and you can face the Sun and find the Moon using the Moon Hat New Moon phase image.

This is the longshoreman style. Turn the Moon Hat inside out and then fold the brim outward. The brim should be wide enough to both show the Moon phase images and hide the instruction tag.

A close-fitting style that uncovers your ears.

#6 – Tidal Shores show tag

The Moon Hat style the Tidal Shore Show Tag - the hat starts inside out and the brim is folded up to reveal the images. This is outre style for wearing the Moon hat because the tag is showing. The Full Moon image is oriented to the front and you can face the Full Moon and find the Sun using the Moon Hat New Moon image.

Just like the Tidal Shores no tag, but the brim of the hat is folded thinly so that the tag is revealed. You can wear the tag on the side, or the back, or if you are feeling daring, on the front!

This style makes a strong statement – show off the instruction tag.

#7 – Moon Slouch

Man wearing the Moon Hat in slouch style. The hat is loosely bunched and then pulled backward to give a relaxed ring of Moon phase images that are carried above the ear.

This is the Moon Finder style, but pull the Moon Hat upwards to get some amount of fabric standing up away from your head and then pull it backward and flatten it for a sleek look

You can easily wear the Moon Hat pulled up above your ears.

#8 – Moon Beret

Man wearing the Moon Hat in beret style. The hat is loosely bunched and then pulled forward to give an intense ring of Moon phase images that are carried above the ear.

This is the Moon Finder style, but pull the Moon Hat upwards to get some amount of fabric standing up away from your head and then pull it forward and flatten it for an intense look.

Folding and bunching the fabric in the hat leads to a renaissance or jester look.

#9 – Moon Disk

A single Moon Phase image shows at the back of Man's head but hiding all the other phases.

The Moon Disk style starts with the Hidden Moon inside, but then you pull the embroidered disk of your favorite Moon phase and place it somewhere – it could be centered on your forehead or placed round the side of your head just behind the ear, or all the way at the back. It’s your choice.

This style lets you show an individual Moon image disk.

#10 – Moon Peeker

This is the same as the Moon Phase disk, but more discreet. Just a tiny Moon phase image disk peeks out from just in front of the right ear.

This style is the same as the Moon Disk, but pull the Moon phase under the fabric of the brim until it is just peeking out. This style looks particularly good when the disk is just in front of your left or right ear.

This look makes a sly statement.

#11 – Halfsies 

Half the Moon Hat brim is folded upwards to hide a set of embroidered moon phase images. Hat is adjusted to make it look symmetrical.

Fold down half the Moon Hat brim to hide 4 of the phases, then adjust, and angle the hat so that it looks like it is sitting flat on your head.

An alternative way of hanging your hat.

Go out and play with the Moon Hat

This is a fun and flexible bit of fabric with lots of science and a mountain of style potential. Hide and show the Moon phase images, fold and flex the fabric. Get outside and get curious about the Moon and its motion.

Blue Moon, Dark Moon, Nose Moon, Tail Moon

What is a Blue Moon?

The year 2018 is a Blue Moon bonanza! There was one in January and one on March 31st. The next one won’t arrive until October 2020. But, don’t worry… we’ve got 3 other types of moons lined up for you.

A blue moon tinted blue to make it look like the moon is actually blue. A blue moon means 2 full moons in a calendar month.
A Blue Moon. (This image was tinted to make it blue. No, a Blue Moon is not blue.)

The Basics

A Blue Moon happens when there is a Full Moon on the 1st* day of the month and a Full Moon on the last* day of the month. Two full moons in one month!

In other words, a Blue Moon is when there is a full moon twice in the same month. These two full moons always happen on the 1st or 2nd and the 30th and 31st of a month. “Blue Moon” is just a name for the second moon in that month – the moon does not turn the color blue.

Read on to learn about how the Blue Moon came to be and some suggestions for giving the other moon phases “Blue Moon” style names when they appear twice in a month. Suggestions are: Dark Moon, Nose Moon, and Tail Moon.Click here to continue reading…

Moon Phase Emojis – A Review

Moon Emojis – and other space emojis

Emoji designers created a nice range of moon emoji, astronomy emojis and space emojis.  My favorite emojis are the Moon Phase Emojis. Space emojis to copy and paste (these look different on each browser)

Here are the moon emojis, astronomy emojis and space emojis as real emojis that can be selected individually (or in groups) and copied. The moon emoji is my personal favorite.

New for 2019! Saturn emoji

🪐

Astronaut emojis

👩‍🚀 👨‍🚀

Earth globe emojis

🌎 🌍 🌏

Moon phases emojis in order from full moon to new moon to full moon

🌕 🌖 🌗 🌘 🌑 🌒 🌓 🌔 🌕

Moon emoji, Sun emoji, and Star emoji

🌚 🌝 🌞 🌛 🌜 🌙 💫 ⭐ 🌟 ✨

Explosion emoji, Comet emoji, Sun emoji, Rainbow emoji

💥 ☄ ☀ 🌈

Spaceship emoji, Satellite emoji

🚀 🛰

Alien emoji, Space invader emoji

👽👾

Map of earth emoji, moon viewing ceremony emoji (Otsukimi – in Japanese: お月見), sunrise emoji, sunset emoji, shooting star emoji, city skyline with sun emoji, city skyline with moon emoji, and milky way emoji

🗺 🎑 🌅 🌄 🌠 🌇 🌃 🌌

Astronomy tools emoji, Telescope emoji

📡 🔭

Religions with moon and stars emoji

☪ ✡ 🔯

Abstract sun, earth, galaxy, star, and full moon emojis

🔅 🔆 🌐 🌀 *️⃣ 🎴

Horoscope emojis, Zodiac emojis, Astrology emoji, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Ophiuchus.

♈ ♉ ♊ ♋ ♌ ♍ ♎ ♏ ♐ ♑ ♒ ♓ ⛎

Miscellaneous space symbol emojis

✳ ✴ ☾ 〰 ➰ ➿

Note: there is currently no official lunar eclipse emoji, nor is there a solar eclipse emoji. Until the emoji designers create real eclipse emojis, I suggest using the black versions of the Moon and Sun.

Use this emoji  for a lunar eclipse (it doesn’t look like any Moon phase – it actually somewhat resembles an eclipse) and this emoji  for a solar eclipse emoji – because the black spot with lines looks like a total solar eclipse showing the Sun’s corona.

Here is a screenshot of all of the moon emoji and space emojis as seen on Apple’s Mac “High Sierra” OS.

Bonus: this list shows the moon phase emojis in order – the correct order of the phases of the moon.

All of the astronomy and space themed emojis in one image
All of the astronomy and space themed emojis in one image

Emoji Variations

Did you know that Emojis look different depending on which type of device you are seeing them on?

Here is what the Full Moon Emoji looks like on Apple Macs

The Full Moon emoji as seen on Mac Computers - 3d, yellow, cratered, and glowing
The Full Moon emoji as seen on Mac Computers.

And here is what it looks like on Microsoft PCs

The Full Moon emoji as seen on Mac Computers - flat, orange, spotted, cartoon.
The Full Moon emoji as seen on Windows PCs.

References

Emojipedia has a catalog of all the variations of emojis including the Full Moon Emoji

Shapes with Shadows – astrosketching Moon features with Alex Massey

Shapes with Shadows – what they can tell us

This the first of two special guest posts by Australian astrosketch artist Alexander Massey 

Live View Sketch of Moon craters Azrachel, Alphonsus, and Ptolemaeus by Alex Massey

Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus, and Arzachel… the names of three massive, interlocking craters on the Moon. These three craters tell the story of the ancient Moon’s creation and evolution. It’s a story of violent bombardments and oceans of lava. We can use light and shadows to reveal the shapes and deep history of these features.

Most people think of astronomy a science of light. But, light creates shadows when it hits things. Those features that lie in the shadows, the dark parts and seemingly just-in-the-way-of-the-light parts, are just as important as those that shine brightly. These dark shadows form most of the mass of all galaxies, house stellar nurseries, reveal old lava rivers on the Moon, and create curious plays of light and dark. These can play tricks on our eyes and make patterns appear.

Click here to continue reading…

Super Moon December 3rd, 2017

Super Moon

The closest approach that the moon will make on its monthly orbit around the Earth coupled with a Full Moon. The December 3rd Super Moon is here!

Here is an image showing how the arrangement of the Moon’s “Perigee” with the Full Moon results in the Super Moon.

Supermoon arrangement of moon's orbit around the Earth
Schematic showing how the “Super Moon” happens and the change in apparent size of the moon. The Moon appears about 14% larger during a Super Moon event.

The Full Moon + Orbit at Perigee = Super Moon.

The Moon is Upside Down

The Moon is Upside Down

The moon is upside down (as seen from the Southern Hemisphere)
The moon as seen from the Southern Hemisphere. source: Wikipedia (rotated).

When you are in the southern hemisphere, the moon looks upside down.

When I came back to the US from living in Australia for 4 years, I published a poster with a picture of the moon on in and I placed it “upside down” – someone pointed it out and I looked at the moon and said “the moon is upside down.” This was true – in the Northern Hemisphere – but to people living in the Southern Hemisphere the moon appears “upside down.”

I was shocked, but the claim was true – in the Northern Hemisphere! But to Australians and other people living in places in the Southern Hemisphere the moon appears “upside down.”

 

Train your Brain – See the shape of the solar system

Physical Astronomy by Daniel Cummings.

Train your Brain - See the solar system disk

See the solar system from Earth

Most people, when they look up at the night sky can easily see stars and identify some familiar groups of stars (asterisms and constellations). Some people can even find and name some planets – Venus, Jupiter, and Mars are all bright and easy to see.

But, there are many invisible wonders in the sky – and some of them can be seen without a telescope. In fact they are so big that a telescope is not the right tool to use; we have to use something even more powerful… imagination!

Using visualization and imagination, I am going to show you how to find and “see” a very large structure in our sky: the solar system disk itself.

Click here to continue reading…