The Moon's Importance
The Moon's Role
The Earth's moon can have many things happen to it throughout the Earth's year. Phases, tides, and eclipses all happen because of the Moon's revolution around Earth. Phases are the different shapes of the moon you see from Earth. Tides are the rise and fall of ocean water that occurs every 12.5 hours or so. An Eclipse occurs when an object in space comes between the sun and a third object, it casts a shadow on that object. You can see all of these things occur on Earth.
The Moon's phases are caused by the motions of the moon around Earth. There are eight phases of the moon. These are the phases: Full moon, Waning gibbous, third quarter, waning crescent, New moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, and waxing gibbous. The moon moves through space in two different ways: rotation and revolution. Even though the moon rotates and revolves, the same side of the moon always faces Earth.
A tide is the rise and fall of ocean water that occurs every 12.5 hours. The Earth has two types of tides. The two types of tides are neap and spring. A spring tide occurs when the sun's and the Moon's gravity pull in the same direction. Their combined forces produce a tide with the greatest difference between consecutive low and high tides. A spring tide occurs at a full moon and a new moon. The neap tide occurs when the sun is at a right angle to the line between the Earth and the moon. The Sun's pull is at a right angle to the Moon's pull. The neap tide is the tide with the least difference between consecutive low and high tides. A neap tide occurs twice a month at a first quarter and third quarter moon. If you were a fisherman or wanted to go out in a boat just for fun, you could not go at low tide unless you wanted to push you boat out into the open water. The low and high tides are like a clock telling us when and when we cannot go out into the ocean.
An eclipse is when an object in space comes between the sun and a third object, it casts a shadow on that object. There are two types of eclipses, solar and lunar. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between Earth and the sun blocking sunlight from Earth. A solar eclipse can have a total eclipse and partial eclipse. A total eclipse occurs when the umbra, or darkest part of the Moon's shadow, strikes earth. During a partial eclipse the moon casts a shadow that is less dark than the umbra, it is called the penumbra. We can also have a lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse occurs at a full moon when earth is directly between the moon and the sun. An eclipse can affect earth because it can give us night when it is day.
The moon is very important to life on Earth. If we did not have the moon we would no longer have tides. The ocean would always be the same depth. There would be no more solar or lunar eclipses. The Earth would not have anything to go in between to make a shadow. The moon would also not have anything to go in between to make a shadow. If we no longer had the moon, what we know now as night, would no longer be as bright as it is now.