YSI 1995 / Reporting Groups / Sun & Moon

Students: Juan Wright, La'Lainya Swain, and Cornell Benford

Sunrise, Sunset/Blue Moon

by Juan Wright, La'Lainya Swain and Cornell Benford

The objective of our Sun and Moon workshop was to record the length of the shadow of a film canister and compare the data with other drawings made at the same time and date, but from different locations. We used plastic hemispheres to plot the path of the sun across the sky. We also invented a moon watcher device to estimate the diameter of the moon.

Our first activity with the sun involved placing a film canister on a sheet of paper facing North. We placed the paper facing North because here in the northern hemisphere shadows fall to the north. We traced the length of the shadow every eight minutes. However, we were unable to complete our data because of the weather.

Nevertheless, the data we received from different locations such as St. Louis, New Zealand, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Alaska, Los Angeles and Yerkes Observatory, were beneficial to our experiment because the data concluded that the closer you are to the equator the shorter your shadow is on a particular day. This experiment was also useful for showing people who think that the sun sets directly in the West and rises directly in the East that the sun rises and sets at different places depending on the season.

We held a marker above the hemisphere so that its shadow would fall upon the center point on the paper underneath. Then we plotted points on the hemisphere where the sun was located.

Our main focus on the Moon was to find the diameter of the Moon by using a meter stick, scissors, index cards and a red flashlight. We set up a proportion to find the diameter of the moon The proportion is:

observed width of moon          real width of moon (x)
_______________________	  =     ____________________
observed distance to card       real distance to moon
Most of our answers varied from 8536 to 3200 kilometers as the moon's width. Furthermore, we found out that the Moon revolves and rotates 29 days around the Earth, and that the smooth parts of the Moon are called maria.

We sketched a drawing of the Moon and compared it with Galileo's and concluded that his telescope wasn't as advanced as present telescopes.

Our main focus was on the sun and moon. With both activities we were able to successfully compare our data with drawings from different locations. The moon watcher device allowed us to estimate a reasonable diameter of the Moon. Overall, we believe our project was a success.

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