The phases of the moon occur because the moon rotates around the earth affecting how much sunlight it reflects and we are able to see. The full moon, for example, occurs when the earth is directly between the sun and the moon. A new moon, on the other hand (when the moon is not easily visible) occurs when the moon is directly between the earth and the sun. In this case, the side of the moon that is receiving sunlight is blocked from view on earth by the other side of the moon. See the link below for diagrams of the various phases.
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