Celestial Mechanics

Celestial Mechanics:  Earth, Moon and Sun 

Today’s lesson focused on celestial mechanics or the interactions between the Earth, Sun and Moon. Did you know that the reason that we experience seasons is due to the Earth’s tilt?  In the northern hemisphere, we are actually closer to the sun in the winter than in summer.   Students demonstrated why the sunlight in the New England is weaker in the winter and stronger in the summer.  After learning about seasons, we talked about the Moon, Earth’s only natural satellite.   They also investigated the 8 phases of the Moon and learned an easy mnemonic device “DOC” to help identify between a growing (waxing) and fading (waning) moon.   Using balls as models, students demonstrated the differences between solar and lunar eclipses.  Ask your student how to tell the difference between a Waxing Crescent Moon and a Waning Crescent Moon.

Visit this link to watch a 5 minute video about seasons. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD_8Jm5pTLk



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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