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Earth's Moon Phases, Monthly Lunar Cycles (Infographic)

As the Earth and moon orbit the sun together, the moon goes through several "phases." Space.com explains the eight major named phases of the moon.
As the Earth and moon orbit the sun together, the moon goes through several "phases." Space.com explains the eight major named phases of the moon. (Image credit: Karl Tate/Space.com)

For a full description, read: The Moon's Phases: Lunar Cycle Completely Explained

See how moon phases work, from the full moon to the new moon and everything in between in this Space.com infographic. The moon is illuminated by light from the sun, which observers on Earth see reflected off the lunar surface. As the moon moves around Earth, the amount of illumination it receives from the sun changes, creating the lunar phases. The moon completes a single lunar cycle in about one month.

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Karl Tate

Karl's association with Space.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork).  Before joining Space.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.