Free Daily Moon Phases Website Module
This "Current Moon" module provides basic information on the current moon phase. It is intended to be a helpful general reference.
You can put this moon phases module on your website.
Or, if you don't operate a website, you can view the real-time moon module anytime from your computer by bookmarking the Current Moon Phase Page (link opens a new window; after it opens, bookmark the page using your web browser).
In addition to a graphical picture, it provides:
How to get the Current Moon Phase module (including other options and sizes)
- the moon phase name / description, ("new moon", "waxing crescent", "first quarter moon", "waxing gibbous", "full moon", "waning gibbous", "third quarter moon", "waning crescent")
- percent of full (how much of the viewable portion of the moon is illuminated)
Past & Future Moon Phase Calendars
The free module shown above is pretty useful. But if you'd like additional features like monthly calendars, upcoming full moon / new moon info, and other details, download a copy of QuickPhase for use anytime on your personal computer.
I created it, so I couldn't be biased :-) ... but it's a big time-saver if you're looking at the moon phases regularly. Plus it's attractive. Most other moon phases calendar applications are either unwieldy, ugly, complicated, or inconvenient because you have to access a website to use it. As I've used it, I found an unexpected side benefit -- a handy general purpose calendar for looking at future dates, since it seems like I never have a wall calendar.
Here are a few core features:
- detail on current moon phases, like full moon percentage, when the next new or full moon is, etc
- thousands of years of past and future moon phases calendars, so you can:
- find past moon phases back to 0AD
- find future moon phases to the year 4999
Moon Phase Screensaver
Here is a beautiful and fun moon phase screensaver with lots of other unique features above and beyond the ordinary screensaver.
Brief Explanation of the Moon Phases
The phases of the moon are caused by the relative positions of the earth, sun, and moon. The moon goes around the earth, on average, in 27 days 7 hours 43 minutes.
The sun always illuminates the half of the moon facing the sun (except during lunar eclipses, when the moon passes thru the earth's shadow). When the sun and moon are on opposite sides of the earth, the moon appears "full" to us, a bright, round disk. When the moon is between the earth and the sun, it appears dark, a "new" moon. In between, the moon's illuminated surface appears to grow (wax) to full, then decreases (wanes) to the next new moon.
The edge of the shadow (the terminator) is always curved, being an oblique view of a circle, giving the moon its familiar crescent shape. Because the "horns" of the moon at the ends of the crescent are always facing away from the setting or rising sun, they always point upward in the sky. It is fun to watch for paintings and pictures which show an "impossible moon" with the horns pointed downwards.
(above information courtesy of NASA http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov)
Other Lunar Phases Information
(all links open in the same new window)
moon phase data - probably the best all-around online tool for "raw" data and information about the sun, moon, and stars
Lunar Eclipse Information
Lunar Prospector Mission - a look at the events surrounding the first NASA Moon mission in 25 years! Lots of information and pictures.
moon pictures - very interesting lunar images! This NASA page has over 130 pictures (thumbnails) of the moon. Click on a thumbnail to for more info. Close-ups of the surface of the moon, distance views, astronauts, moon landings, more.
Mr. Eclipse - breathtaking eclipse photos, both lunar and solar, probably the best eclipse photography site anywhere
Education / Classroom Moon Phases Activities
International Occultation Timing Association - An index and information site, a more technical and in-depth look at lunar (and other) eclipses
lunar phases explanation - a good explanation of the phases of the moon, with diagrams
There are many theories and thoughts about the effects of the moon on people, animals, and the natural world. Here are a few interesting links:
K-12 activity from nasa.gov - rather than use chalkboard diagrams to illustrate the phases, this activity uses actual objects (pencil, styrofoam ball) to help students grasp the concepts
"scientific" moon phases activity - this one asks some good "thinking" questions, and has kids work in groups. This page also just happens to have a good textual overview of how the moon phases work
phases explanation from factmonster.com - here's a good basic overview of the phases of the moon from the Family Education Network
moon phases video demo - from NOAO (National Optical Astronomy Observatory), these are QuickTime online video clips that are an excellent way to illustrate the phases of the moon
moon and the tides - this is a really good, concise page on how the moon affects the tides by it's phase (full moon, new moon, etc) and its position (perigee, apogee)
how moon phases affect animals - discusses the "Solunar Theory" that affects fishing and hunting activities
the real scoop on moon phases - another article on how the moon phases affect angling, but provides some valuable insight into perhaps other affects the moon may have
about the moon - here's a website I've just launched that you'll want to watch for almost anything moon related
For more information, try searching for "moon phases" related terms on google!