Moon phases. Timelapse image of the phases of the Moon, as seen from Earth during a lunar (synodic) month. A full Moon is at centre, with pairs of (from inner to outer) gibbous Moons, quarter Moons and crescent Moons. The lunar phases occur because the Moon does not produce its own light, but reflects that of the Sun. As it travels around the Earth during its 29.53day orbit, parts of the Moons surface which are visible from Earth become shadowed by the Moon itself. Crescent Moons occur when the Moon lies almost between the Earth and Sun, and full moons occur when the Moon is furthest from the Sun.