Full Moon vs New Moon: Difference and Comparison

Differentiating between a full moon and a new moon is not a tough task. In fact, even a kid can tell the difference easily.

The lunar month is very different from the other months and stands its own features. The very first day of the month is the new moon, while the mid of the month, around the 15th, is the full moon.  

Key Takeaways

  1. A full moon occurs when the entire face of the moon is illuminated by the sun, while a new moon occurs when the moon is completely dark.
  2. A full moon is visible throughout the night, while the new moon is not visible at all.
  3. A full moon is associated with high tides, while a new moon is associated with low tides.

Full Moon vs New Moon 

The difference between the full moon and the new moon is that a new moon is when we cannot see it as we are looking at the unlit part of it, while a full moon is when we can see the whole moon as the entire portion of the moon is lit.

Full Moon vs New Moon
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When from its new moon position, the moon has moved about 180 degrees, a line is formed by the sun, the earth, and the moon itself, and the phase of the moon is called a waxing gibbous moon.

Now, for the new moon, the phase where the sun and the moon have the same ecliptic longitude, the first moon is the first lunar phase. And at this particular phase, the disk of the lunar eclipse is not visible to the bare eyes.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFull MoonNew Moon
Situated at  The moon is situated quite a far away during the period of the full moon. The moon is somewhere around the sun and the earth and is somewhere between the two. Generally, closer to the sun.
Phase  During the lunar month, the full moon is the phase of the moon when it is the brightest.  But the new moon is the phase of the moon when it is the darkest.  
Period  The full moon is in the mid of the lunar month, that is, around the 15th.  The new moon is on the first day of the lunar month.  
Visibility  A full moon is the most visible amongst all of its phases as it is the brightest.  A new moon is the least and barely visible to the naked eyes as it is the darkest phase of it.   
Light  The full moon is the brightest as it is where he can get most of the light from the sun and be illuminated by it.  The new moon has no light of its own and is hardly illuminated by any other star.  

What is Full Moon? 

When the moon has moved about 180 degrees from its new moon position, a line is formed by the sun, the earth, and the moon itself, which is called a full moon. As seen from the Earth, the full moons are about 99.9% illuminated by the sun.

Full Moon

What is New Moon? 

Generally, a new moon cannot be seen as it passes the Earth during the daytime. New is basically when the moon is new and is between the Earth and the sun during the time of a particular month.

New Moon

Main Differences Between Full Moon and New Moon 

  1. The main difference between the new moon and the full moon is that the new moon cannot be seen as the moon’s unlit portion is towards the earth’s face, but the full moon can be seen even with the naked eye.
  2. During the lunar month, the full moon is the phase of the moon when it is the brightest, but the new moon is the phase of the moon when it is the darkest. 
  3. The full moon is in the middle of the lunar month, around the 15th. In contrast, the new moon is on the first day of the lunar month.   
  4. A full moon is the most visible among all of its phases as it is the brightest, but a new moon is the least and barely visible to the naked eye as it is the darkest phase of it.   
  5. The full moon is the brightest as it is in the position where it can get most of the light from the sun and can be illuminated by it, but the new moon has no light of its own and is hardly illuminated by any other star.   
Difference Between Full Moon and New Moon
References
  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/002182860403500407
  2. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/RG009i003p00447

Last Updated : 15 June, 2023

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