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MORE ABOUT THE MOON
DOES IT MOVE?

Choose a window at home from which you can see the moon.
On a clear night, line up the edge of the window frame with
an object outdoors, such as a telephone pole, a tree, or the edge of a building. Mark the moon's position on the window pane with masking tape.

If observations are repeated every fifteen minutes, you will realize that the moon apparently changes its position. (Note: Be sure to hold your head in exactly the same position for every observation.)

Label a yardstick A, and drill a hole (or ask an adult to drill the hole) near one end of the stick. Label a second yardstick B, and drill a hole in the center. Fasten the two sticks together with a bolt and a wing nut. Looks like you will be making a large lower-case "T".

Make a grid of 1 inch squares on a transparent plastic sheet, and attach it to one end of stick B. Fasten stick A to the back of a chair or other support. Sight along the upper edge of stick B, and adjust the support so that the moon appears to be sitting right on the end of stick B. Do not move the stick for five minutes, then sight along it again. (You will find that the moon appears to change its position.)

This instrument can be used to sight on various stars to see if they also appear to move.

I, your brilliant writer, do not know how this all works. I am trying to learn this stuff about five minutes before you learn it. I know it is really neat to look up in the sky on some mornings and see the moon on one side and the sun on the other. I don't know why that is, but we'll probably learn.

Observe the moon in the daytime and draw its apparent shape
on a calendar. When the moon cannot be seen, mark the
calendar, along with an explanation (e.g., rain, cloudy sky) about why it cannot be seen.

Now take a tennis or styrofoam ball outdoors and hold it at
arm's length directly in front of the moon. The sunlit portion of the ball will be similar in shape to the sunlit portion of the moon. The changes in the sunlit portion of the moon from day to day are called phases.

Now move the ball slowly to the right or left and note the
changes. You can realize the relative position of the sun to the moon phases by extending one arm toward the sun and the other toward the moon and determining the angle on successive days.

Back into the classroom for this one:

Hold a white volleyball higher than your head. The ball
represents the moon. To represent the sun, point a slide
projector at the ball about 6 feet above the floor and at
least 10 feet away.

Now have another student stand behind the ball and in a
direct line with the projector. This person represents
the earth.

Darken the room, and slowly walk around the "earth" until
one full circle (revolution) has been completed. Observe
any apparent changes in the moon's lighted surface and
compare your observations with those made from the earth.

The view from the earth can be drawn to represent different
positions of the moon during rotation. You will realize that the moon's apparent shape goes through changes when seen in different positions of its orbit.

 

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