# How many days are between exactly the same Moon phase?

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1 IDS 102 Phases of the Moon- Part II Along with this part of the handout you should receive a two page handout of the appearance of the Moon over the previous month. Look carefully at the appearance of the Moon and describe how the Moon changed in appearance over the month and how your observations were similar or different from this handout. How many days are between exactly the same Moon phase? You may have noticed that if you could observe the Moon several nights in a row at the same time each evening that the Moon was closer to the eastern horizon each evening. Discuss what this observation tells us about the orbit of the Moon around the Earth. What direction does the Moon revolve around the Earth? About how long would it take the Moon to go completely around the Earth? If we observe the Earth from a spaceship directly above the North Pole, we would see the Moon move around the Earth in a -wise direction. This is an important perspective for the animations we will be using simulating the Earth and Moon positions. Earth N Moon 1

2 The motion of the Moon around the Earth is termed the revolution of the Moon. We all know that the Earth spins on its axis giving us day and night (this is termed rotation). Does the Moon rotate? (Hint: we always see the same side of the Moon. Until satellites took photos of the back side of the Moon, we did not know what it looked like!) To investigate the Phases of the Moon, we will use two approaches: 1) A light bulb, a ball that is white on one side and black on the other and a partner to help you. Assume that your head is the Earth and the ball is the Moon. Your partner will move the white/black ball around you so that the white part of the ball is always toward the light bulb (the Sun) and the dark part is away from the light. How long should it take for the Earth to rotate once? How long for the Moon to revolve around the Earth? How long for the Moon to rotate? 2) A computer animation from the University of Nebraska: Click on show phase panel and show time tickmarks In the upper right corner of the screen is the phase panel. This will illustrate how the Moon appears from the Earth. Also notice that when the web page first opens, the Moon 2

3 phase is a New Moon. You can click on start animation or you may click on days and hours to move the Moon around the Earth. Move the Moon to the first quarter phase as noted on the web site. How many days after the new Moon is the first quarter? Sketch below how the Moon appears from the Earth (shade the dark area of the Moon). Move the Moon in the animation to the last quarter phase. How many days after the first quarter phase is the last quarter phase? Again, draw the appearance of the Moon as it appears from Earth. Get your partner to help you determine position of the Sun, Earth and Moon for the first quarter phase and the last quarter phase using the ball and light. For these two phases, what is the difference in the appearance of the Moon from the Earth? Complete the orbit of the Moon around the Earth. Using both the days and hours button, determine how long it takes the Moon to orbit the Earth once. A solar eclipse is when we are in the shadow of the Moon and we can not see the Sun. The lunar eclipse is when the Moon is in the shadow of the Earth. During which Moon phase must a solar eclipse happen? During which lunar phase does a lunar eclipse happen? 3

4 Eclipses are scheduled to happen this year on: February 9 lunar eclipse at moonset July 7- total lunar eclipse July 22- solar eclipse in China and western Pacific August 6- lunar eclipse but not visible in Pacific NW December 31- lunar eclipse but not visible in Pacific NW Notice that eclipses do not happen every time the Moon orbits the Earth. What ideas do you have to explain this? The orbit of the Moon is not in the same plane as the plane of the Earth s orbit around the Sun, therefore only sometimes do the Sun, Earth and Moon happen to be in the same line, not every time the Moon orbits the Earth. Draw the arrangement of the Sun, Earth and Moon in the space below for the full Moon phase. (Notice that we are seeing only half of the Moon during a full Moon phase, but this is the full surface that we can see from Earth.) Draw the arrangement of the Sun, Earth and Moon for the new Moon phase. Use the white/black ball and light to confirm that your understanding the difference in a full Moon and a new Moon. A couple of important definitions: Waxing Moon: the appearance of the Moon between the new Moon phase and the full Moon phase. The lighted part of the Moon appears to get larger each evening with a waxing Moon. Waning Moon: the appearance of the Moon from the full Moon phase to the new Moon phase. The lighted part of the Moon gets smaller each evening with a waning Moon. 4

5 In the arrangement of the Sun, Earth and Moon illustrated below, where would one see a waxing Moon? A waning Moon? Sun E Determine which of the Moon illustrations below is waxing and which is waning: (We suggest using the light, ball, and a partner to help you on this question). Waxing or waning? Waxing or waning? What logic did you use to determine your answers? As you use the animation, you will notice times that the Moon appears to be a thin sliver (called a crescent Moon) and times when the Moon is larger than a quarter Moon, but smaller than a full Moon (called a gibbous Moon). Draw on the illustration below (we are looking at the north pole of the Earth) the positions of the waxing crescent, waning crescent, waxing gibbous, and waning gibbous Moons. Sun E 5

6 For review and to insure that you understand the positions of the various phases, locate the positions of the eight phases we have described in the drawing below (again, our view of the Earth is directly at the North Pole). E Sun Questions to answer: When the Moon looks like this draw the position of the Sun, Earth, and Moon in the space below: When the Moon looks like this draw the position of the Sun, Earth, and Moon in the space below: 6

7 How much of the Moon is being illuminated by the Sun when the Moon appears like the illustration below? So, explain why we see the Moon as illustrated above. waxing or waning waxing or waning How could you tell the difference? Is the following Moon, waxing or waning? 7

8 For each of the Moons below, determine the position of the Moon, Earth, and Sun, the phase of the Moon, and what the Moon would look like 7 days later: position of Sun, Moon, and Earth waxing or waning name for this phase what will the Moon look like 7 days later? When we observe the Moon, we always see the same side of the Moon. (Our first observation of the far side of the Moon was when a satellite took photographs of the surface in the 1960 s). Does the Moon rotate on its axis? Explain your reasoning. 8

9 The following statements are either true or false. If the statement is true, defend your choice in the space below. If the statement is false, state why the statement is false. 1. A waxing gibbous Moon phase will be a few days before the full Moon phase. 2. When the Moon appears as it does below, it is possible to have a lunar eclipse: 3. The time of day we expect to see the following phase of the Moon is in the early morning, such as 5 or 6 AM. Congratulations! You now have an honorary degree in Moon observation. Think about what you have learned on the next night when you see the Moon! 9

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