Celestial Mechanics

Celestial Mechanics:  Earth, Sun and Moon

Today’s lesson focused on celestial mechanics, or the interactions between the Earth, Sun and Moon. We talked about the Moon, Earth’s only natural satellite.   Students investigated in-depth the 8 phases of the Moon and learned an easy mnemonic device “DOC” to help identify between the increasing (waxing) and fading (waning) sunlight on the moon. Also, students were able to differentiate between pictures of what the moon’s phases would look like from our view here on Earth versus what the moon’s phases would look like if we were in a satellite in space above the North Pole!

Using balls and flashlights as models, students demonstrated the differences between solar and lunar eclipses.  Ask your student what phase the moon has to be in for a lunar or solar eclipse to occur.

 

Mecánica Celeste: La Tierra, La Luna y El Sol

La lección del día de hoy, se centró en la mecánica celeste, es decir, en las interacciones entre la Tierra, la Luna y el Sol. Conversamos sobre la Luna, el único satélite natural de nuestra Tierra. Los estudiantes aprendieron sobre las 8 fases de la Luna y utilizaron un recurso mnemotécnico (“DOC”) para que les fuese más fácil identificar la luna creciente de la luna menguante. Los alumnos también lograron distinguir las distintas fases lunares observando imágenes obtenidas desde dos perspectivas distintas; las fases de luna vistas desde la Tierra, versus vistas desde un satélite en el espacio a la altura del Polo Norte.

Finalmente, usando bolas y linternas como modelo de la Luna y el Sol, los estudiantes observaron las diferencias entre los eclipses lunares y solares. Pregúntale a tu hijo o hija en qué fase tiene que estar la Luna para que pueda ocurrir un eclipse solar.

 

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Author

Leighann

Leighann Sullivan earned her BS in Biology from Cornell University. For a number of years she taught math, science, and language skills at a secondary school for learning disabled students. She subsequently earned her PhD in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from Rice University. Her dissertation was entitled, “Molecular and Genomic Analyses in Clostridium acetobutylicum.” When not pursuing academic interests she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and experimenting in the culinary arts.

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