The most common mnemonic used to remember the phases of the moon is “DOC.” Using this you can understand which part of the moon is lit up at different stages in the lunar cycle.
- The capital “D” has an arch to the right. The right-hand side is illuminated: First Quarter Moon.
- The capital “O” represents the full moon.
- The capital “C” has an arch to the left. The left-hand side is illuminated: Last Quarter Moon.
- DOC, “Dog comes in (the room), Cat goes out”
- Light Left, Last Quarter
- ‘b for birth phase or b for birth’, ‘d for death phase’
French Mnemonic Device:
- premier, dernier
Explanation: A French mnemonic is that the First Quarter Moon phase looks like a “p,” and the Last Quarter Moon looks like a “d.” In this mnemonic, p and d actually stand for what you see: “premier” or “dernier.”
- “Premier” is French for first, so it would be the first quarter.
- “Dernier” is French for last, which makes it the last quarter.
When looking at the moon, try to see if you can make out the letter p or d.
The complete circle of the 8 phases of the moon is:
- Phase one: New Moon
- Phase two: Waxing Crescent Moon
- Phase three: First Quarter Moon
- Phase four: Waxing Gibbous Moon
- Phase five: Full Moon
- Phase six: Waning Gibbous Moon
- Phase seven: Last Quarter Moon
- Phase eight: Waning Crescent Moon