Earth, Moon, and Sun
by Nate Elliott
Section 1: Earth in Space
How Does Earth Move in Space?
Earth moves through space in two ways: Rotation and Revolution
Rotation is the spinning of Earth on it's axis, or the imaginary line that passes through the middle of Earth's North and South Poles. Earth's rotation causes day and night. It is day on the side of the Earth that is facing the sun, and night on the side facing away from the sun. It takes 24 hours for one full rotation.
Revolution is the movement of one object around another. In this case, the Earth is moving around the sun. One complete revolution of Earth around the sun is called a year. Earth's path around the sun is an elongated circle, or and ellipse.
What causes the cycle of seasons on Earth?
The tilt of Earth's axis while is revolves around the sun causes the cycle of seasons.
Earth keeps it tilt at it revolves around the sun. In June, the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun making it summer, and in December, the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun causing winter.
Section 2: Gravity and Motion
What determines the strength of force of gravity between two objects?
The strength of force of gravity between two object is determined by the distance between the two objects and the mass of the two objects.
If the mass of the two objects increase, then strength of the gravitational force increases. As the distance between two objects increase, then the strength of the gravitational force decreases.
What two factors combine to keep the moon and the Earth in orbit?
The two factors that keep the moon and Earth in orbit are inertia and gravity.
Gravity is a force that pulls to objects towards each other. Inertia is the tendency of an object to resist a change in motion. The Earth's gravity pulls the moon towards it keeping it in orbit, while the moon keeps moving ahead because of inertia.
Section 3: Phases, Eclipses, and Tides
What causes the phases of the moon?
The changing relative position of the moon, Earth, and sun cause the phases of the moon. The moon goes through a cycle of phases. Phases are the different shapes of the moon you see on Earth. The moon doesn't produce its own light. The moon shines because it reflects the sun's light. The phases of the moon depend on how much of the sunlit side of the moon is facing Earth.
What are solar and lunar eclipses?
When the moon's shadow hits Earth or Earth's shadow hits the moon, and eclipse occurs. There are two types of eclipses, solar(sun) and lunar(moon). A solar eclipse is when a new moon passes directly between the Earth and sun, blocking sunlight from Earth; the moon's shadow hits the Earth. A lunar eclipse occurs when Earth blocks sunlight from reaching the moon. Eclipses can be total or partial. In a total eclipse there is and umbra, or the darkest point in the eclipse that is cone-shaped. Also, there is a penumbra, where there is a less dark shadow around the umbra. In a partial eclipse, the moon, sun and Earth don't perfectly line up only casting a partial shadow on the Earth or moon.
What causes tides?
Tides are caused mostly by differences in how much the moon's gravity pulls on different part on Earth. Tides are the rise and fall of ocean water that occurs every 12.5 hours or so. A high tide is formed when the force of moon's gravity is closer to that point in the ocean. A low tides is formed when that point in the ocean is far away from the moon's gravity.
Spring tides are when the high and low tides have the greatest difference between them. The sun and moon both pull the oceans in the same direction. Neap tides are when there is the least amount of difference between high and low tides. This happens when the moon is a first quarter or third quarter phase because the sun moon and Earth create a right angle then. Both spring and neap tides occur twice a month.
Section 4: Earth's Moon
What features are found on the moon's surface?
Features of the moon's surface are maria, craters, and highlands.
The moon's surface has darken, flat areas, which Galileo called maria. Galileo thought maria were oceans but they are actually rock from harden lava created billions of years ago. Craters are large circular pits on the moon's surface. Craters come in all sizes and were created by the impact of meteoroids, chunks of rock or dust in space. Most craters on the moon were created early in its history. Highlands are rugged mountains and peaks on the moon, which were usually lightly colored.
What are some characteristics of the moon?
The moon is dry and airless. It is small compared to Earth and has varying temperature.
The moons diameter is 3,476 kilometers, a litter smaller than the U.S. The Earth's density in much greater than the moon's density. On the moon's surface, temperatures ranges from -180 degrees Celsius to 130 degrees Celsius because there is no atmosphere. Also, the moon has no liquid water but some ice.
How did the moon form?
There are many theories made by scientists about how the moon was formed. Overall, scientist theorized that a planet-sized objected collided with Earth. Material from Earth was ejected into orbit, creating the moon. This process is called the collision-ring theory. The moon was created about 4.5 billion years ago.
Moon Observation Project
Where I collected my moon data (Kenston Middle School)
Trip to the moon
What: Trip to moon
When: Friday, May 1st
Where: NASA Space Center, Houston, Texas