Moon Tracking Project
By: Jay Ohlsen
Section 1: Earth in Space
How does Earth move in Space?
How Earth Moves
In space, Earth moves in two ways. It rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun. Earth spins around an imaginary line called it's axis. This rotation causes day and night. As Earth rotates to the east, the sun appears to move west across the sky. As the Earth continues turning, the sun appears to set in the west. The light from the sun now can't reach that part of the Earth.
The Earth is constantly moving around the sun. This movement is called revolution. Revolution is Earth's movement around the sun. Each full rotation is one year.
What causes the cycle of seasons on Earth?
The seasons on Earth are caused by the tilting of Earth's axis. Light from the sun hits certain areas more directly than others, causing a variation of climate. Earth's axis tilts towards different directions throughout the year. This causes different areas to face the sun more directly and gets more sunlight. In the summer, the axis is tilted towards the sun and the axis is tilted away from the sun. In spring and fall it is in the middle. Earth's axis has a huge effect on our climate.
Section 2: Gravity and Motion
What determines the strength of the force of gravity between two objects?
The force of Gravity on two objects depends on two main things: The mass and the distance between them. The law of universal gravitation states that all objects around you are being pulled towards you and you are being pulled towards them. This force is stronger when the objects are closer to each other or have a greater mass. Bigger objects like the sun and planets have a much greater pull then something like a stone or a pencil. The bigger objects are also effected by gravity much more. Weight is how much gravity effects an object. Weight, unlike mass, changes when your in different places.
What two factors combine to keep the moon and Earth in orbit?
Inertia and gravity are the two factors keeping the Earth and moon in orbit. Inertia is an object's tendency to resist change in motion. The moon and the Earth are in constant motion around the sun. in space their is no gravity, friction, or any other forces to slow it down. Meanwhile the force of gravity from the sun pulls Earth towards it. The Earth's movement going away from the sun and the gravitational pull pulling towards the sun contradict with each other and end up pushing Earth to the side. The same thing happens with the earth and moon. This is how the Earth and moon keeps a continuous orbit.
The fact that all the items remain on the table after the cloth is pulled, shows that they resist the motion of the tabel cloth. This is an example of inertia.
Section 3: Phases, Eclipses, and Tides
What causes the phases of the moon?
When we see the moon in the sky, it appears in many different shapes. These shapes all have different names and are the different phases of the moon. These phases are caused because of the position of the moon. The moon looks bright in the night sky because light from the sun reflects of it down to earth. We always see the same side of the moon but that side isn't always facing the sun. Somtimes only part of it is. This causes us only to see the portion of the moon that is getting hit by sunlight.
Were I have done moon observations
What are solar and lunar eclipses?
When an object in space comes between the sun an a third object, it casts a shadow on that object causing an eclipse. Seeing an eclipse from earth looks incredible. Their are two types of eclipse. Solar and Lunar. During a solar eclipse, the moon is in it's new moon phase. The new moon is when the moon is right between the Earth and sun. Usually though, the moon travells at a different altitude than the sun. On the rare ocation, when the moon passes directly between the sun and the Earth we have a solar eclipse. The shadow from this is called the Umbra. Their are many places we can see the eclipse but it isn't a full one. The people directly on the Umbra see a full one.
Lunar Eclipses are caused when the earth blocks light from the moon. A lunar eclipse only happens during a full moon when the side of the moon we see directly faces he sun. Usually the moon has a reddish color because earths atmosphere bends sunlight towards the moon. Somtimes Lunar eclipses cover the moon up completely in Earth's shado, but other times the moon isn't directly in line with Earth and is slightly outsider the Umbra.
What causes tides?
Tides are the rise and fall of ocean water that acurs every 12.5 hours. This is caused because of the moon and Earth pulling each other. Certain spots on Earth are effected more than others. This causes more water to flow towards certain points giving a rise in water level. This rise in some spots causes a fall in some others.
Section 4: Earth's Moon
What features are found on the moon's serface?
The moon has many charictiristics similar and different than Earth's surface. Maria are dark flat surfaces formed from the flow of lava billions of years ago. Maria means sea in Latin. Craters are large round pits in the moon's surface. Some are huge and others very small. These were formed from the impact of meteoroids hitting the moon. Highlands are on the moons mountains and hills.
What are some characteristics of the moon?
The moon isn't a place you would want to live. It has no air and the tempurature is deadly. The moon's diameter is smaller than the United States. The moon is far less dense than Earth. It is one eighth Earth's density. Tempurature ranges from -180 degrees C to 130 degrees C. The moon, having no atmophere has a much more uncontrolable tempurature than Earth. The moon has no water although their is evidence of ice near the poles.
How did the moon form?
Nobody is sure how the moon exactly formed. Some people believed the moon was formed in another solar system but was picked up by Earth's gravity. Most scientist believe that the moon formed around 4.5 billion years ago. At the time the solar system had many space rocks floating around. A large one about the size of a planet hit Earth, causing debree to fly everywhere. The debree was picked up in Earth's gravitational pull and evantually formed the moon.
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