Things to know about Moon Phases and tides

47 views | 11:54am on Monday 15th February 2021

Ocean tides would have never appeared on Earth without the Moon’s gravitational pull. That’s an undeniable fact. And of course, different moon phases also affect the tides differently. Check out this article “Things to know about Moon Phases and tides” to learn basic things not only the effects of the moons on tides but also the relationship between its phases and the rise and fall of ocean water.

Moon phases and tides

Ocean tides would have never appeared without the moon’s gravitational pulls

The Moon’s gravitational pull is one of the very major factors causing the tides on Earth. It takes 27.32 days for the Moon to complete one orbit around the Earth. However, it takes the Moon about 29.5 days to complete one full cycle of phases - from a New Moon to a New Moon.

During these 29.5 days or the moon’s full cycle of phases, it goes through 8 major phases. And each phase is, of course, affects the tides differently in terms of tide levels, types of tides, and more. Keep reading on to know more about the relationship between Moon phases and tides mentioned detailedly below here! Let’s start by figuring out different phases of the moon throughout a month.

Different phases of the Moon

Moon’s phase is the position of the Moon relative to the Sun and Earth. In other words, Moon phases are angles of the moon to the Earth. 

There are four primary Moon phases, including New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon, and Third Quarter. Together with these are four intermediate phases of Waxing Crescent Moon, Waxing Gibbous Moon, Waning Gibbous Moon, and Waning Crescent Moon. 

Moon phases and tides

Moon phases and tides: 8 major phases of the Moon (Image Credit: moonconnection.com)

In fact, the phases throughout 29.5 days from new Moon to new Moon always follow one another in a fixed order of New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Third Quarter (or Last Quarter), and Waning Crescent. 

Here are the 8 different moon phases and their shapes that can be seen from Earth.

 

Moon Phases

Moon Shapes

1

New Moon

🌑 A New Moon can’t be seen from Earth.

2

Waxing Crescent

🌒 We see this first intermediate phase as a thin crescent opening to the left. 

3

First Quarter

🌓 We see this phase as a half-moon.

4

Waxing Gibbous

🌔 This phase is between a half-moon and a full moon. Waxing means it’s getting bigger.

5

Full Moon

🌕 The Full Moon is the brightest phase, taking place when we see the Moon completely illuminated in the sky. 

6

Waning Gibbous

🌖 This phrase is between a half-moon and a full moon, too. But waning means it’s getting smaller. 

7

Third Quarter

🌗 The third Quarter or Last Quarter phase can be seen as a half-moon, too. But it’s the opposite half as illuminated in First Quarter phase. 

8

Waning Crescent

🌘 The Waning Crescent phase can be seen as a thin crescent, too, but opening to the right. 

Those are a few basic things related to Moon phases and meanings. Let’s move on to learn about what the relationship between Moon phases and tides is!

Effects of the Moon’s gravitational pulls on tides and the relationship between Moon phases and tides

There are 8 major different Moon phases during the period from a New Moon to a New Moon. So during that cycle, how these 8 phases affect the tides on Earth?  

Well, it’s essential to know that the tides on Earth result from the Earth’s rotation on its axis as gravity from the sun and the moon pull on Earth and its water. That’s why it’s said that the Moon’s gravitational pull is one of the major factors causing tides - the fall and rise of the ocean water level at a given place. 

Moon phases and tides

The tides on Earth result from the Earth’s rotation on its axis as gravity from the sun and the moon pull on Earth and its water

Of course, the effects of the moon on tides depend on the Moon’s phases. 

Some facts below here will let you know the effects of the moon on tides and the tight relationship between Moon phases and tides.

High tides vs Low tides

The moon strongly pulls on the water on the Earth’s side that is closest to the moon, causing the water to bulge. It’s known as the direct tide. 

At the same time, on the opposite of Earth, the water ocean also bulges, resulting in tides or also known as the opposite tides. 

That’s why high tides occur on both sides of the Earth simultaneously. During high tides, ocean levels are higher on shorelines. On the other hand, ocean levels are lower on shorelines during low tides. 

High tides and low tides both occur two times each every 24-hour day. But the moon rises 50minutes later each day, so the tide cycles will also differ by the same 50minutes daily. 

If the moon is at perigee, the tides can also be impacted. Combined with a New Moon or Full Moon phase, a moon at perigee can produce the lowest or highest tides of all. 

Moon phases and tides

Moon Phases and Tides: Spring tides vs Neap tides (Image source: NOAA’s National Ocean Service)

Spring tides and Neap tides

When the Moon is at its new and full phases, high tides reach their highest, while low tides are, of course, lower than usual. These high tides are called spring tides, occurring when the sun, moon, and the Earth are in a straight line. The added gravity from the Sun makes the oceans bulge more than usual.

But during the Quarter Moon phases, the Moon is 90 degrees away from the Sun and the Sun pulls against the gravitational pull of the Moon instead of combining with it. The result is the highest low tides and lowest high tides or the least extreme between low tides and high tides. They are also known as neap tides. 

Roundup

Through the facts mentioned above, now you know that the moon’s gravitational pull and its phases strongly affect the tides on Earth, right? And that’s all for today’s article “Things to know about Moon phases and tides.” Hope you enjoyed it and learned something new. Next time, we will have another article discussing more deeply the Moon phases and meanings, so if you want to learn more about this topic, don’t forget to visit goweatherforecast.com frequently to see the post. 

See also: What are the major types of climates in the world?

Sources:

sciencing.com/relationship-between-moon-phases-tides-5038199.html

ldisd.net/cms/lib5/TX01817232/Centricity/Domain/218/Moons%20Phases%20and%20Tides%20notes.pdf

spaceplace.nasa.gov/moon-phases/

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