This is an article I contributed to that gives a simple explanation for determining whether the Moon is waxing or waning. The article is from Wiki-How, an excellent source of many How To articles.
The Moon’s phases grow from right to left in the Northern Hemisphere, backwards to how we – in the West – read. So the Waxing Moon begins on the right side of the moon. And the Waning Moon ends on the left side. But how can you remember this easily?
Here’s a simple way to determine whether the moon is waxing or waning.
- Flatten your right hand, with your fingers together and your thumb sticking out.
- Hold your hand out at arm’s length in front of you. Tilt your thumb towards the ground.
- See how the line along your thumb and first finger makes a curve, roughly like a backwards letter “‘C'”? It actually looks sort of like this: ) This is the shape of the Waxing Moon. If the Moon’s curve fits along this right-hand curve, it is a Waxing Moon.
- Commit it to memory. One way to remember this is to think of drawing in wax. Most people are right-handed, and if they were to draw in wax, they’d use their right hand. So if the Moon fits in your right-hand curve, it is waxing.
- Do the same with the left hand. This makes a shape like this: (
This is the shape of the Waning Moon. If the moon fits in this curve, you know it is getting smaller every day, going toward the new moon / dark moon.
Method 2: Cheat
CalculatorCat.com moon phases That’s the moon phase calendar you see on the sidebar.
Method 3: Keep it Simple
- Moon on the right, getting bigger every night (waxing).
- When the moon is waning, it is fading to the left until there’s no moon remaining.
- If you have difficulty remembering that waning means getting smaller, you can think that waning means weakening. Weakening has the word waning inside it: W-e-A-k-e-N-I-N-G.
- Waxing is easy to remember if you remind yourself that when you wax the floor, it grows in brightness and shine ~ just like the moon grows in brightness when it is waxing.
- (Important Note: If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, this process is reversed.)
- NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is a vast storehouse of knowledge about celestial phenomena. If you want to know anything at all about the moon, including when the next eclipse is going to be, check their website.
Sources and Citations
Moon Phases & Wicca – Original source of information, used with permission by author.
Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Ascertain the Moon Phase. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.