Do you have a special memory of a great night made more memorable by a fat, bright, full moon hanging over your shoulder? How about some fascinating moon facts to expand the wonder!

I was lying on the frosty grass last night, looking at the most extraordinary full moon, when I realized that I was in need of brushing up on my moon fundamentals.

Image: start of eclipse

Source: Jonathan Billings

I thought I knew all about how the moon’s phases work, but when I really tried to form a few intelligent sentences about it, I was at a loss! I couldn’t help but think that my sixth grade science teacher would have been wholly disappointed! Now, after doing some homework on the lunar phases, simple science and the moon’s affects on our planet, I’m seeing that this is some truly remarkable stuff! How am I just learning about this?

Tonight is a full moon in North America, and we thought this was a good opportunity to offer a quick refresher course. It’s safe to say that after today the videos we share with you will ensure that you’ll be the smartest person on the blanket the next time you’re out moon-gazing.

First up: a quick, 2 ½ minute video by the wonderful National Geographic, just to get us up to speed, here’s their lunar video course, Moon 101:

As always, those folks over at National Geographic are amazing.

Now, let’s face the question about how the moon’s phases are created: quarter moon, half moon, three quarters, and full? How exactly how do these lunar phases come about?

The following video is a brilliantly simple explanation of more fascinating moon facts, produced for children by a great teacher, but I put my ego aside and found it just fine for my level of interest today. See what you think!

Okay…so why we should care?

In short, thousands of critical earth processes are dictated by the moon. For example, here’s one you probably know about superficially, but do you really know what’s going on with our tides:

More fascinating moon facts!

Here’s just one example of the thousands of natural processes that Mother Nature has connected to the phases of the moon:

Lastly, if you’d like to know when to expect the next full moon – wherever you are in the world! – I found a great website that will do just that! Check out MoonGiant.com to find out the moon’s four monthly cycles – full moon, new moon (opposite of full), first quarter, and last quarter – complete with the dates and times.

Please note:

The link we sent you to above goes directly to the January 2015 Moon Phases page of MoonGiant.com… meaning if you come across this article months later,  it will be of no value for moon-gazing! However, the surprisingly complete website MoonGiant.com allows you to go forward and backward in time, so here’s a couple ways to use the site (pick the easiest method for you!):The URL for the January 2015 Moon Phases is moongiant.com/moonphases/January/2015/… and do you see the January/2015 bit at the end? As you might be guessing, that tells the MoonGiant.com system what to display. If you change that correctly, you can jump around to different dates. Go ahead and try – I tried moongiant.com/moonphases/October/2011/, moongiant.com/moonphases/June/2024/, and moongiant.com/moonphases/March/1999/ and they all worked just fine, so I think you can go as far as you need to!

On the MoonGiant.com page, there are links to go forward or backwards one month, just above the pictures of the monthly moons (this may be easier for some of you!)

You can also go to the MoonGiant.com Full Moon / New Moon Calendar home page, where there is a link that opens a script for the next full moon’s info.

One more moon bonus!

So if you are really smart, try making sense of this next amazing animation from NASA. It’s cool, but I could tell it was going to take me a few more viewings to figure it all out and the rest of EWC’s amazing content isn’t going to find, curate, write, edit, and code itself, so I have to get back to work! Enjoy!

Well, that’s our EWC topic for today! Every day a bit more wonder can be found here!

Stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda

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Notes:

  1. ksamuthker. “Moon 101 — National Geographic العلاقه بين الارض والقمر .Flv.” YouTube, Ksamuthker, 11 Jan. 2010, www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ktn4HIWVHQ.
  2. “Moon Phases Demonstration.” YouTube. National Science Teachers Association, 16 Sept. 2014. Web. 5 Jan. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz01pTvuMa0>.
  3. “The Action of the Tides.” YouTube. AFP News Agency, 30 Apr. 2012. Web. 5 Jan. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rkfk9TJ52I>.
  4. “Moonlight Spawning of Coral.” YouTube. Oneoceanonline’s Channel, 11 Mar. 2010. Web. 5 Jan. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrMAOBT_Vco>.
  5. “Moon Phases for 2013.” YouTube. TheBadAstronomer, 20 Nov. 2012. Web. 5 Jan. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YXhnQcoyOw>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.