General

Difference Between Waxing and Waning

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Main Difference

The main difference between the phases of the moon waxing and waning is that waxing is the phase at any time before the full moon and after the new moon whose illuminated area is increasing and a waning moon is a moon at any time after the full moon and before new moon whose illuminated area is decreasing.

Waxing vs. Waning

The terms waxing and waning are generally related to the phases of the moon. The process of lunar phases shifting between the full moon and the new moon falls under the terms waning and waxing. Waxing means something, getting closer to its maximum property. Waning means something, getting closer to its minimum property. A waxing moon is going from the new moon to the full moon. Or waxing moon is going from between the Earth and sun to behind the Earth. In this journey, the crescent of the moon is losing its darkness and gaining the light. In the waning phase, the reverse is happening to the moon until it reaches the completely dark, new moon. The waxing moon is developing or getting larger. It fits in the shape of a ‘D.’ The waning moon is being cut or is shrinking. It fits in the letter ‘C.’ The waxing moon is the lunar phase, beginning when the moon just passed its darkest phase until it is at its brightest phase. The waning moon is the lunar phase starting when the moon just passed its brightest and fullest. Waxing is the growing phase when the moon is growing in size from new moon to full moon. Waning is the shrinking phase when the moon is decreasing in size from full moon to new moon (when it cannot be seen at all by us). The waxing moon is growing in size. The waning moon is decreasing in size.

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Comparison Chart

WaxingWaning
the phase of the moon at any time after the new moon and before the full moonthe phase of the moon at any time after the full moon and before the new moon
Illuminated Area
increasingdecreasing
Size of Moon
growingshrinking
Shape
like the letter ‘D.’like the letter ‘C.’
Process
the moon is losing its darkness and gaining the lightthe moon is losing light and gaining darkness

What is Waxing?

The light falls upon the moon from the sun, as it travels around the earth. The moon grows smaller and larger depending upon its distance and position from the sun. Although, the half the moon is always lit up because it’s half portion always receives light from the sun. We are not able to see this entire portion. We see only a portion of the moon at a time as it keeps moving in its orbit. The reason we see moon growing (waxing) and shrinking (waning) is due to the light of the sun emitted by the moon to us. Every lunar month which is of 29.5 days duration, the moon goes through 8 phases. These phases are; new moon (dark moon or no moon), waxing crescent moon, the first quarter moon, the waxing gibbous moon, full moon, the waning gibbous moon, third quarter moon, and waning crescent moon. The moon undergoes different shapes from new moon to full moon when it is waxing. A waxing moon is a moon at any time after the new moon, and before full moon whose illuminated areas is increasing is called a waxing moon. A waxing moon is a lunar phase that starts when the moon just passed its darkest phase and continues until the moon is at its brightest phase. When the moon is waxing, a sliver growing more can be viewed each night. The moon, in its waxing phase, looks similar to the capital letter ‘D.’ In this phase, the right side of the moon is smooth and rounded. The left side looks more darkening and uneven.

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What is Waning?

The reason we see moon growing (waxing) and shrinking (waning) is due to the light of the sun emitted by the moon to us. Every lunar month which is of 29.5 days duration, the moon goes through 8 phases. These phases are; new moon , waxing crescent moon, the first quarter moon, the waxing gibbous moon, full moon, waning gibbous moon, third quarter moon, and waning crescent moon. The moon takes several shapes when it is waning. The moon after the full moon and before new moon whose illuminated area is decreasing is a waning moon. the moon, in its waning phase, appears like the capital letter ‘C.’ Its right side appears darker, more indistinct. Its left side is smooth and rounded. The waning moon is the lunar phase that begins when the moon is just passed its brightest and fullest. It continues until the moon can no longer be easily viewed. In the waning phase, the moon appears to shrink each night. It is losing light and gaining darkness until it reaches the completely dark, new moon.

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Key Difference

  1. Waxing means something is getting closer to its maximum property, whereas waning means something is decreasing or getting closer to its minimum property.
  2. In the waxing phase, the moon is losing its darkness and gaining the light on the flip side, in the waning phase, the reverse is happening to the moon until it reaches the completely dark, new moon.
  3. The waxing moon is developing or getting larger while the waning moon is shrinking or decreasing.
  4. Waxing moon fits in the shape of a ‘D.’ on the other hand, waning moon fits in the letter ‘C.’
  5. Waxing is the phase when the moon is growing in size from new moon to full moon conversely waning is the phase when the moon is shrinking from full moon to new moon.

Conclusion

Waxing and waning are the terms that are related to the phases of the moon. The process of the lunar phases from the new moon to the full moon falls under the terms waning and waxing.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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