Stargazing and the Moon Week

Gibbous… Isn’t that an Ape?

Part of

This week, you’ve been tracking the Moon each night. What did you notice? Did the Moon change shape? Where was it in the sky?

There are 8 different shapes we use to describe the Moon:

  • New Moon - Nothing is lit up
  • Waxing Crescent - A small sliver begins to appear
  • First Quarter – A quarter of the Moon is visible (like a semicircle)
  • Waxing Gibbous – Almost the full face is visible
  • Full Moon – Exactly half of the Moon is visible (a full circle)
  • Waning Gibbous – A little bit has disappeared from sight
  • Last Quarter – The other quarter is now visible
  • Waning Crescent – Only a small sliver is left
Phases of the Moon
Phases of the Moon

Like the Earth revolves around the Sun, the Moon revolves around Earth. It takes the Moon 27.32 days to complete a full revolution. During the month or so, you might notice the shape changes and the Moon appears in a different part of the sky at different times. That is because of the way it is positioned with the Earth and Sun.

Watch the video below from the National Space Centre to learn exactly how this works.

Did You Know? Astronauts who went to the Moon discovered that the Moon has a smell! Do you think they took their helmets off outside the space shuttle to take a whiff?

NO! Of course not! They had dust all over their suits, and when they came back inside and then took their helmets off, they smelled a smell like spent gunpowder! Why? No one knows, but some scientists hypothesise that it might have been a reaction between the dust and the water or oxygen inside the lander, or even possibly a release of particles charged by the Sun’s radiation.

If you have enjoyed these activities please share them with your friends and family.