You may have noticed that I’ve put a moon guide in the left-hand sidebar of this site. It shows what phase the moon is currently in, but I thought it would be useful to put that into perspective across the whole lunar cycle.
The moon changes appearance in a continuous cycle, through 8 recognizable phases:
1. **New Moon:** The moon is dark. The moon and the sun rise and set at the same time.
2. **Waxing Crescent Moon:** The first sliver of the moon is lit up and grows day by day (hence ‘waxing’).
3. **First Quarter Moon:** Half of the face of the moon is lit up (i.e. we can see a quarter of the moon’s surface). This happens roughly a week after new moon.
4. **Waxing Gibbous Moon:** The lit region continues to grow towards a full moon.
5. **Full Moon:** The entire face of the moon is lit up. This happens roughly two weeks after new moon. The moon now rises as the sun sets, and the moon sets as the sun rises.
6. **Waning Gibbous Moon:** The lit region starts to shrink (hence ‘waning’) from the side of the moon that was first lit after new moon.
7. **Last Quarter Moon:** Again, half of the face of the moon is lit up (the opposite half to first quarter moon). This happens roughly three weeks after new moon.
8. **Waning Crescent Moon:** The moon is back to a thin sliver, shrinking day by day. Roughly four weeks after the new moon, we are back to the new moon phase again.
According to [Wikipedia](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_moon), each of the full moons through the year were given special names in English tradition:
– January: Old Moon
– February: Wolf Moon
– March: Lenten Moon
– April: Egg Moon
– May: Milk Moon
– June: Flower Moon
– July: Hay Moon
– August: Grain Moon
– September: Fruit Moon
– October: Harvest Moon
– November: Hunter’s Moon
– December: Oak Moon
Why am I posting this? Check back tomorrow…
Update: I posted this as background info for [What Is Lunar Planting?](http://green-change.com/2008/12/11/what-is-lunar-planting/)