# CHAPTER 2 Strand 1: Structure and Motion within the Solar System

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1 CHAPTER 2 Strand 1: Structure and Motion within the Solar System Chapter Outline 2.1 EARTH, MOON, AND SUN SYSTEM (6.1.1) 2.2 GRAVITY AND INERTIA (6.1.2) 2.3 SCALE OF SOLAR SYSTEM (6.1.3) 2.4 REFERENCES The solar system consists of the Sun, planets, and other objects within Sun s gravitational influence. Gravity is the force of attraction between masses. The Sun-Earth-Moon system provides an opportunity to study interactions between objects in the solar system that influence phenomena observed from Earth. Scientists use data from many sources to determine the scale and properties of objects in our solar system. 11

2 2.1 Earth, Moon, and Sun System (6.1.1) Explore this Phenomenon You are walking out at night and, looking up into the sky, you see the scene above. What do you notice? Observations Questions Draw a model that shows the position of the Sun, Earth, and Moon during a full moon. 12

3 6.1.1 Phases of the Moon Develop and use a model of the Sun-Earth-Moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the Sun and Moon, and seasons. Examples of models could be physical, graphical, or conceptual. In this section focus on observable patterns created by the positions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun throughout the month. The Earth-Moon- Sun System also creates observable patterns throughout the year. It is important to analyze this system in order to describe how it creates repeating, or cyclic, patterns, Phases of the Moon As the moon orbits around Earth, different parts of it appear to be illuminated by the Sun. The Moon does not produce any light of its own. It only reflects light from the Sun. The Moon sometimes appears fully illuminated and sometimes appears completely dark. Although it changes in appearance, the Moon is always half illuminated by the Sun. From our perspective on Earth, we see all, a portion, or none of the illuminated part of the Moon. These predictable patterns in the appearance of the Moon are referred to as phases of the Moon. Visit this interactive for more information about the phases of the moon: 13

4 A full moon occurs when the Moon appears to be fully illuminated from our perspective on Earth. This happens when Earth is between the Moon and the Sun. As the Moon continues orbiting around Earth, the illuminated part that is visible from Earth decreases until the Moon appears to be completely dark. This phase is referred to as a new moon. As the cycle continues, the illuminated part of the Moon will appear to increase until it is fully illuminated again. This predictable pattern takes about 28 days. Watch this video to see the phases change: The illumination of the Moon increases to a full moon and decreases to a new moon. This predictable pattern occurs about every 28 days. Focus Questions 1. What causes the appearance of the Moon to change in a predictable? 2. Where are the Sun, Earth, Moon positioned for full and new moons to occur? 3. How does the Moon receive its light? 14

5 Putting It Together A month later, you are hiking up the canyon and, looking up the canyon, you see the scene above again. Based on what you have learned, draw a revised model that shows the position of the Sun, Earth, and Moon during a full moon. 15

6 Explore this Phenomenon You go outside one night and expect to see a full moon, but part of the full moon is dark. What do you notice? Observations Questions Draw a model of the position of the Sun, Earth, and Moon during a lunar eclipse. 16

7 Lunar Eclipses Sometimes a full moon moves through Earth's shadow. This is a lunar eclipse. During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon travels completely in Earth s shadow. During a partial lunar eclipse, only a portion of the Moon enters Earth s shadow. Since Earth s shadow is large, a lunar eclipse lasts for hours. Partial lunar eclipses occur at least twice a year, but total lunar eclipses are less common. The Moon glows with a dull red coloring during a total lunar eclipse. The red coloring is due to light from the Sun being refracted through Earth s atmosphere. Focus Questions A lunar eclipse is shown in a series of pictures. 1. During the phases of the moon, when would a lunar eclipse occur? 2. Why does a shadow pass over the Moon during a lunar eclipse? 3. Explain why we do not see a lunar eclipse every month. 17

8 Putting It Together You go outside one night and expect to see a full moon, but part of the full moon is dark. Review the model that you drew in the beginning of this section. Draw a revised model, based on what you have learned, that shows the positions of the Sun, Earth, and Moon during a lunar eclipse. 18

9 Explore this Phenomenon The image shows a solar eclipse as viewed from Earth. What do you notice? Observations Questions Draw a model of the position of the Sun, Earth, and Moon during a solar eclipse. 19

10 Solar Eclipses A solar eclipse occurs when the new moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun. This casts a shadow on the Earth and blocks Earth s view of the Sun. A solar eclipse, not to scale. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon s shadow completely blocks the Sun. When only a portion of the Sun is out of view, it is called a partial solar eclipse. A solar eclipse shown as a series of photos. Solar eclipses are rare and usually only last a few minutes because the Moon casts only a small shadow onto Earth. It is hazardous to your eyes to look directly at a solar eclipse without proper equipment. Focus Questions 1. What causes a solar eclipse? 2. How are solar eclipses different than lunar eclipses? 20

11 Putting It Together A photo of a total solar eclipse. Review your initial model. Based on what you have learned, develop a revised model to show the positions of the Sun, Earth, and Moon during a solar eclipse. 21

12 Explore this Phenomenon The images above show the same park in all four seasons. What causes the seasons? Draw a model that shows the position of the Earth and Sun during different seasons. 22

13 Seasons Visit this interactive to explore the causes of Earth s seasons. The days are getting warmer. Flowers begin to bloom. The sun appears higher in the sky, and daylight lasts longer. Spring seems like a fresh, new beginning. What causes these welcome changes? Some people think that Earth is closer to the Sun in the summer and farther away from the Sun in the winter, but that s not true! Why can t that be true? Because when it s summer in one hemisphere, it s winter in the other. The Earth revolves in an orbit, or the path a planet takes around an object. Initially believed to have a circular orbit, the Earth s orbit is actually elliptical. As Earth moves throughout the year to new positions around the sun, the movement results in our four seasons: summer, autumn, winter, and spring. The distance from the sun doesn t have much effect on the heating and cooling of Earth. In fact, the Northern Hemisphere is closest to the Sun during winter. So, why do we, in the Northern Hemisphere, feel coldest when we are closest to the Sun? Earth s axis of rotation, or imaginary poles on which Earth spins, is tilted at a 23.5 degree angle. Because of this tilt, one of the hemispheres is angled toward the Sun. This causes that hemisphere to receive more direct energy from the Sun. As Earth revolves around the Sun, the axis of rotation maintains its tilt. The axis always points in the same direction, which is toward the North Star (Polaris). The combination of the Earth s revolution around the Sun and Earth s 23.5 degree angle tilt are the reasons we have seasons. 23

14 Northern Hemisphere Summer During summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the North Pole is tilted toward the Sun. The Sun's rays strike the Northern Hemisphere more directly. The region gets a lot of sunlight. At this time, the Northern Hemisphere experiences summer, while the Southern Hemisphere experiences winter. Northern Hemisphere Winter During winter in the Northern Hemisphere, light from the Sun is spread out over a larger area. This indirect light is the same amount of light energy spread over a larger area on the Earth s surface. Therefore, the surface of the Earth does not get as warm. Additionally, with fewer daylight hours in winter, there is less time for the Sun to warm the Earth s surface. During winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere. In contrast, when it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The hemisphere that is experiencing summer, experiences more hours of daylight. The hemisphere that is experiencing winter has less hours of daylight. This is caused by the tilt of the Earth. Summer occurs in the hemisphere that is tilted toward the Sun. This is when the Sun appears high in the sky and its energy strikes Earth more directly and for longer periods of time. The hemisphere that is tilted away from the Sun experiences winter and the Sun appears lower in the sky. The Earth receives less direct energy from the Sun for shorter periods of time. Focus Questions 1. What seasons do you experience where you live? 2. What causes the seasons? 3. How does the Sun impact the seasons? 24

15 Putting It Together The images above show the same park in all four seasons. What causes the seasons? Review your initial model. Draw a revised model that shows the position of the Earth and Sun during different seasons based on what you have learned. 25

16 2.2 Gravity and Inertia (6.1.2) Explore this Phenomenon The picture above shows the Earth in orbit around the Sun. Develop a model to explain why objects in the solar system stay in orbit around the Sun. 26

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