Astronomy Class Summary 11/3
with Leigh Ann Yoder
Virtual Tour of the Moon
Ranger Bob took the class on a stunning "virtual tour of the Moon" this week, sharing with us a version of his presentation from the International Observe the Moon Night, 2012.
He began by discussing some important scientific Moon facts. Many scientists now believe that the Moon was formed some 4.6 billion years ago when an object several times the mass of Mars collided with young Earth. The massive impact ejected a huge amount of debris into space, which was pulled into orbit by the Earth's gravity, forming the Moon - our own natural satellite.
We learned that we've been mistakenly led to believe that the Moon is far larger than it actually is (relative to the size of the Earth). Additionally, the Moon is farther away than we would assume from standard textbook diagrams.
If we use a basketball to represent a scale model of the Earth, the Moon would be approximately the size of a tennis ball, and the distance between the two balls would need to be a full 23 feet to accurately represent the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
We took a mini "field trip" to the basement of the church building where Ranger Bob used a single light source to illustrate the different concepts of Earth-Sun system and Earth-Moon system relationships.
He also provided a demonstration of the phases of the moon, illustrating that the phases we see are a function of our location on the earth in relation to the moon-sun orientation.
The new moon occurs when the moon is positioned between the earth and sun, and the three objects are in approximate alignment. The entire illuminated portion of the moon is on the back side of the moon; the half that we cannot see.
At a full moon, the earth, moon, and sun are in approximate alignment, just as the new moon, but the moon is on the opposite side of the earth, so the entire sunlit part of the moon is facing us. The shadowed portion is entirely hidden from view.
One important concept to remember is that exactly one half of the moon is always illuminated by the sun.
Back in the classroom, Ranger Bob shared some of the cultural connections we have with the moon and how these both sustain and inspire us - tides/fishing, industry, art, literature, and Native American culture to name just a few.
He concluded our virtual tour of the moon by showing some incredible imagery taken from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which photographs from just 30 miles above the moon's surface. We observed impact craters, rilles and graben, volcanoes and domes, mare (sea), mountains, and lava flows.
ECA Chapter 7
**Prepare for Game Show Day/mid-term***
Study pages 173-174 of ECA (Chapters 1-7)
Study all highlighted vocabulary words in Chapters 1-7 of ECA
JK Chapter 2
NB - pg. 76, 77, 78, 82, 84
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