Which Planets Appear in Phases Similar to Lunar Phases?

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The gas giants in the solar system definitely don’t look like they have phases at all. Find out which planets appear in phases similar to lunar phases with help from an experienced education professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: About Astrophysics & Outer Space
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Eylene Pirez, and I’m an astrophysicist. And, this is, “Which planets appear in phases similar to lunar phases?” So, the gas giants definitely don’t look like they have phases at all. So, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune don’t seem to have phases. Now, the threshold planets do have phases, and that’s Mercury, Venus, and Mars. Now, Mars doesn’t have a full range of phases, but Mars can occasionally look, like, a little gibbous, and gibbous means that it doesn’t really look circular – it just looks a little bit like a little chunk has been taken out, a little meat. And then, Mercury and Venus have full-range phases. Now, the best one to look at is Venus, since it’s closer and brighter to us. So, therefore, we generally tend to look at the phases of Venus. And, as Venus gets closer to us, it looks crescent. And, as it moves away from us, it becomes fuller. And, those are the phases of the threshold planets. My name is Eylene Pirez, and I’m an astrophysicist.

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