Kate's Corner: Phases of the moon

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BRIDGEPORT, W. Va (WDTV) - In today's Kate's Corner we are having a quick science lesson. This lesson is over the phases of the moon.

The moon is Earth's only natural satellite and rotates around our planet at a distance over 382,000 kilometers. As the moon orbits the earth, the shape of it changes. Well, it doesn't actually change. We are just only seeing a portion of the moon.

Half of the moon is always illuminated by the sun. As the moon travels around the Earth, we see different portion of that illuminated area.

The moon goes through a full cycle in about 29.5 days.

There are four main principle lunar phases: the new moon, first quarter, full moon, and thirst quarter.

Between these principle phases there are intermediate phases in which the moon appears either crescent-shaped or gibbous. A crescent moon is where the moon is less than half illuminated and the gibbous is when the moon is more than half illuminated.

If the moon appears to be growing in size, the crescent or gibbous is described as waxing. If the size appears to be decreasing, it is described as waning.

Since the moon's cycle is just about a month long, there is usually only one full moon per month. Sometimes there are two! That second full moon in a month is called a Blue Moon. The next chance for a Blue Moon is in January and March of 2018.