Waxing vs Waning: Difference and Comparison

There will be very few people in this world who would not be fascinated by the beauty of the full moon.

The moon has been marveled at for ages now. Numerous poetries try to describe the beauty and mystique of the moon.

Most people tend to fall in love with the full moon. The full moon is very attractive because of its clear shape and brightness. The new moon is something almost everyone has heard of. 

This is because a new moon is rarely visible and is quite dark. Between these two, there are various other phases that a moon goes through.

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A moon has various phases. The most known phases are waxing and waning. Both these phases are often found confusing by a lot of people. However, both phases have characteristics and features that help distinguish them.

Key Takeaways

  1. Waxing refers to the lunar cycle phase when the visible portion of the moon’s illuminated surface increases, progressing from a new moon to a full moon.
  2. Waning describes the phase of the lunar cycle when the visible portion of the moon’s illuminated surface decreases, transitioning from a full moon to a new moon.
  3. The main differences between waxing and waning lie in the direction of change in the moon’s visible illumination. Waxing phases involve an increase in the illuminated surface, and waning phases result in a decrease.

Waxing vs. Waning

Waxing is the period when the visible surface of the moon increases in size, making it appear brighter and more visible in the sky. It occurs over two weeks as the moon moves in its orbit around the Earth. Waning is when sunlight reflects off the moon’s surface, making it appear dimmer and less visible.

Waxing vs Waning

 

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonWaxingWaning
MeaningWaxing is the phase of the moon, the time until it has not become a full moon and when it has passed the new moon.Waning is the phase of the moon once it has finished being a full moon but has not become a new moon.
SizeThe size of the moon during this phase is growing.The size of the moon during this phase is shrinking.
ShapeThe moon looks like the alphabet ‘D’ during this phase.The moon looks like the alphabet ‘C’ during this phase.
Illuminated AreaThe lightened area of the moon is growing in the phase.The lightened area of the moon starts lessening in this phase.
ProcessDuring waxing the moon begins to lose its darkness and gain light on the flip side.During waning, the moon begins to gain light and lose its darkness on the flip side.

 

What is Waxing?

Everyone is aware of the fact that light from the sun falls on the moon while the moon travels around the Earth. This makes the moon appear small sometimes and large at other times.

It all depends on the distance and position of the sun from the moon.

The lunar cycle is the time frame starting with one new moon and then onto the next new moon, which is responsible for the changes in the way the moon looks.

A moon at the time until it has not become a full moon, and when it has passed, a new moon is called the waxing moon.  During this phase, the bright area of the moon is growing.

In this phase, the moon has just passed its darkest phase and moves towards its brightest phase.

A silver-growing moon can be seen every night during this phase. The moon looks like the English alphabet’s capital letter ‘D.’

Waxing
 

What is Waning?

In terms of the lunar cycle, a moon is said to be waning once it has finished being a full moon but has not become a new moon. The moon has just passed its brightest and fullest phase in this phase.

This phase continues until the moon is no longer visible.  Every night the moon looks like it is shrinking. 

The moon resembles the alphabet ‘C’ in appearance during this phase. The moon takes various other shapes, too, while in the waning phase. The lighted area of the moon begins to reduce in this phase. 

In this phase, one side of the moon is dark, but the other looks plain. The moon begins to look darker with each passing day.

Waning

Main Differences Between Waxing and Waning

  1. During the phase of waxing, the moon is at any time before the new moon and after the full moon. On the other hand, during the Waning phase, the moon is at any time before the full moon and after the new moon.
  2. During the waxing phase, the moon’s illuminated area increases, while on the other hand, during the waning phase, the moon’s illuminated area decreases.
  3. The moon’s shape during waxing fits the shape of the letter ‘D.’ On the other hand, the moon’s shape during waning fits the shape of the letter ‘C.’
  4. The waxing phase begins when the moon has just passed its darkest phase and stays until it becomes its brightest. On the other hand, the waning phase begins when the moon has just passed its brightest and fullest phase.
  5. During the waxing phase, the moon’s size grows, while, on the other hand, the moon’s size shrinks during the waning phase.
Difference Between Waxing and Waning

References
  1. https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/pdf/10.1176/ajp.94.2.339
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