The moon requires about 29.5 days to orbit the earth. During its orbit, different parts of the moon can be seen. These parts are called "moon phases". Since the moon's orbit is a predictable pattern, you can make a graph of the lunar phases. This can be a great way to study the moon in depth or teach children about the cycles of the moon.
Part 1 of 3: Create the chart
Step 1. Make a 2D or 3D box
Use white card cut into circles and color in the phases of the moon with markers, or use Styrofoam ball halves glued to card stock to make a 3D rendering. Color the Styrofoam balls with a black marker to show the waxing and waning phases.
Step 2. Know the phases of the moon
This is vital in order to create an accurate chart. This has 8 main phases, each of which lasts approximately 3.5 days. The phase of the moon depends on the way it is located in relation to the sun and the earth at any given time. These are the eight phases:
- new Moon
- crescent concave
- crescent quarter
- crescent convex
- full moon
- waning convex
- last quarter
- waning concave
Step 3. Place the earth in the center of the graph
The different positions of the moon in relation to the earth and the sun produce the visible phases of the moon. The moon phase graph is designed to describe the visibility of the moon at different points as it orbits the earth. Placing the earth in the center of the graph will keep this concept in perspective.
Step 4. Place the sun on the graph
The sun is usually located on the right side of the graph. This is important, since the phase of the moon depends on the location of the moon in relation to the earth and the sun. If you place the sun to the left of the earth, you will have to shift all the moon phases to match this new position.
The relationship of these three bodies is important, but the determination of the right or left side is arbitrary. The earth orbits the sun and the sun is never on a static "left or right" side in relation to the earth
Part 2 of 3: Add the Increasing Phases
Step 1. Start with the new moon
This occurs when the moon is directly between the earth and the sun. Draw or stick a new moon (completely darkened or shaded) right between the earth and the sun.
In astrology, the new moon symbolizes birth or a new beginning. It is believed that it is a good time to start a new project
Step 2. Place the concave crescent phase
From the point of the new moon, go 45 ° counterclockwise to draw or position the concave crescent phase. This lunar phase occurs when the moon moves approximately ⅛ of its orbit (less than three days after the new moon). At this point in the orbit, there will be a small part of the moon that will be illuminated by sunlight and will be visible on the night side of the earth (the one pointing away from the sun).
In astrology, the rising phase is often associated with difficulties and growth. This phase is believed to be a good time to seize opportunities
Step 3. Add the crescent quarter
Go 90 ° counterclockwise from the new moon (or 45 ° from the concave crescent phase) to position or draw the crescent. This arises when the moon looks like a semicircle in the sky, since it has moved ¼ of its orbit. This lunar phase can be observed approximately in the 7 to 10 days of the lunar cycle.
Action and expression are the astrological themes related to the crescent. This is considered a good time to take the first steps to communicate your goals and achieve them
Step 4. Add the convex crescent phase
Go another 45 ° counterclockwise (135 ° from the new moon) and place the crescent phase convex. During this phase, the moon will get closer and closer to being a complete circle in the sky. The convex waxing phase is observed approximately between the 11 to 14 days of the lunar cycle.
During this phase, astrologers recommend focusing on analyzing the results of the actions that people initiate in the crescent phase
Part 3 of 3: Add the waning phases
Step 1. Start with the full moon
The full moon represents the climax of the waning phases. This is also the beginning of the waning phases. As the moon continues to orbit, it will become less and less visible. The location of the full moon on the graph should be 180 ° from the new moon (opposite the earth).
In astrology, the full moon represents enlightenment. During this phase, it is believed that people will have a clear view of their previous actions, so that you can make the appropriate changes
Step 2. Add the convex waning phase
This phase should be positioned 45 ° counterclockwise to the full moon. The phases of the convex crescent appear to be the reversed versions of the phases of the convex crescent. The parts of the moon that were dark in a certain phase of the convex crescent will be light in a phase similar to that of the convex waning, and vice versa.
In astrology, the waning convex is also referred to as the scattering moon and is seen as a time to reflect on any changes made during the full moon
Step 3. Add the last quarter
The last quarter should be located 90 ° counterclockwise from the full moon. The last quarter will look like an opposite first quarter. This phase marks the point where the moon has moved by ¾ of its orbit.
For astrologers, the last quarter is a time of self-reflection. It is believed that it is time to put an end to the projects started during the new moon
Step 4. Include the concave waning phase
This is the last moon phase of the cycle. This should be placed on the chart at 135 ° counterclockwise from the full moon (45 ° counterclockwise from the waning convex). This will complete a circle around the earth with 8 different dots representing the eight phases of the moon.
In astrology, the waning concave is also known as the balsamic moon. This is considered as the time to forget everything that does not belong to the next lunar cycle
Step 5. Provide explanations at the bottom of the graph
Explain each moon phase with descriptions. In this way, anyone who reads the graph will be able to immediately determine what phase of the moon they are seeing and why it is called that. For instance:
- New moon: this is the beginning of the lunar phases, when the moon is hidden.
- Concave crescent: this is the small part of a crescent when the moon begins to be visible.
- First quarter: this phase looks like a semicircle in the sky.
- Convex crescent: brightens more than a semicircle as the moon moves toward the full moon phase.
- Full moon: the sun lights up the entire moon, so you can see a whole circle.
- Convex waning: the illumination of the moon begins to decrease again.
- Last quarter: this phase looks like a semicircle in the sky.
- Waning concave: this is the last phase of the moon, which becomes less and less visible.