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Understand the Structure and Appearance of the Moon.

The Moon is a satellite of the Earth. It orbits the Earth every 29½ days while at the same time travelling around the Sun with the Earth. One side of the Moon always faces out into space. The other side of the Moon always faces the Earth. As a consequence, the side that always faces out into space cannot be viewed from Earth.

The Moon is heavily cratered because there is no atmosphere which will cause any meteors on a collision course with the Moon to burn up. The side of the Moon that faces away from the Earth is more heavily cratered than the side that faces the Earth. This is because the Earth offers some protection as it can stop some meteors travelling through space and then hitting the Moon. The Moon appears in phases. These phases are due to the Moon reflecting light from the Sun as it is viewed from someone on Earth. The experiment further on will help you understand the phases. of the Moon.

The gravitational pull of the Moon is the major contributor to the cause of tides on the Earth. As the Moon travels around the Earth the world’s oceans and seas are attracted to the Moon by its gravitational pull.

The surface structures of the Moon can be viewed from the Earth with the aid of binoculars or a telescope. Binoculars (10 by 50 or 12 by 50) mounted on a tripod offer good viewing of the Moon and the surface features. Telescopes can offer much more detailed viewing of features such as individual craters.

1. Obtain a detailed map and information about the moon either from the internet or the library.
2. Make a detailed A3 poster of the moon labelling all the different landscapes.
Include statistics on the moon, such as:

• Diameter
• Mass
• Temperature range
• Surface conditions
• ,Distance from the earth
• Size of gravitational field

3. Explain, using diagrams, how the moon contributes to producing tides on the Earth.
4. Explain, using diagrams, how a lunar eclipse can form.


• Aim
• To observe and record the Moon and its shape over a period of month.

Over the next month record the following data on the Moon in the table below, if possible every day:
• The Moon’s shape
• Height above the horizon
• The direction you are looking to see the Moon, i.e. north, south, east, west

Design a “Moon Shape Chart” to illustrate and present your findings

e.g. Date, Moon,Shape, Height, above horizon, Direction, recording data at the same time each night,  


Approximate height above the horizon:
– One finger width is 2 degrees,
– Flat hand with fingers together is 10 degrees
– Open hand fingers spread wide is 20 degrees

Click here to answer questions on the Moon