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Moon
Solar System
The Moon



The Moon
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.46

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    waxes, happening, periodic, celestial, rotation, revolution, atmosphere, gibbous, waxing, satellite, opposite, fuller, medium, gravity, natural, attraction
     content words:    Neil Armstrong, Since Earth


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The Moon
By Cindy Grigg
  

1     From the time you were very young, you looked up in the sky and saw the moon. When you were little, you may have thought the moon "followed" you if you were in a car going somewhere. The moon does move, but it doesn't follow cars.
 
2     The moon goes around or orbits the Earth, just as Earth orbits the sun. The phases of the moon are caused by the positions of the Earth, sun, and moon. The moon orbits the earth in 27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes. That's almost four weeks, and we see four main phases of the moon. Each main phase lasts about one week each. In between each of those four main phases, the moon is changing.
 
3     You may have heard people refer to the moon as either "waxing" or "waning." Waxing means that it is growing fuller, and waning means that it is moving from full to smaller.
 
4     The sun always lights up the side of the moon facing the sun. When the sun and moon are on opposite sides of the earth, the moon appears "full" to us, a bright, round circle. When the moon is between Earth and the sun, it is dark. We call this a "new" moon. In between, the moon's illuminated surface appears to grow (waxes) to full, then decreases (wanes) to the next new moon.
 
5     Eight phases in all are named. There's the new moon; then the waxing crescent moon. When we see half the moon lit, we call that the first quarter moon. The lit part looks like the capital letter D. The moon is one-quarter of the way through its monthly phases. The next phase is called waxing gibbous; then there's the full moon. After that, the moon is waning, or growing smaller. We see the waning gibbous; then the third quarter (half the moon is lit again, but it's the opposite side, a backwards letter D). Then we see the waning crescent; then the new moon.

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