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adi

moonreport
ID #21901094 - Esha Munagala
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Hour 5

INTRODUCTION
Guiding Question:
Why does the moon look different over time?
The phases of the moon are what spice up the night sky everyday here at Earth. Everyday, the
moon looks different, from a small sliver of silver to a gleaming oval of speckled gray. Occasionally,
we even get a rare treat - an eclipse! Eclipses can be lunar, with a blood-red moon, or solar, with a ring
of fire in the sky. Both look amazingly mysterious. Even the ordinary phases look amazing- a full and
shining full moon to a beautiful crescent, or a waxing gibbous. Both phases of the moon and the rare
eclipses change how we see the moon everyday. The moon is something we gaze at every night, and
it is changing constantly. The goal of this investigation was to find out why the moon looks different
every day.

METHOD
To collect our data, we built a model of the Earth, sun, and moon using a styrofoam ball, a
flashlight, and a ping pong ball, respectively. We used wire to represent the orbit of the moon and the
Earth. Using some sticks, we stabilized the model and connected the moon to the Earth. We took
pictures from various angles with the Earth, moon, and sun positioned differently. The pictures were
taken as if from Earth, as the moon looks different over time from a point of view of Earth, but not
from a bird's eye view of space. We used these pictures for the data, as we were looking for qualitative
observations instead of quantitative data. We compared the pictures with pictures of the actual phases
of the moon and matched them up. To find out why these phases happen, we looked at the model
and found out that when the Earth (styrofoam ball) and moon (ping-pong ball) were in different
positions relative to the sun (flashlight) then the phases of the moon, and occasionally eclipses,
happen.

ARGUMENT

The moon looks different over time because of the different positions of the sun, moon, and
Earth over time, which can sometimes also cause eclipses. The evidence collected from our model
supports this claim. The evidence sheets below show the positioning of our model when the picture
was taken, and shows how the model picture is similar to the actual phases of the moon. The diagram,
which shows the positioning of the model, also shows how the real Earth, sun, and moon would be
positioned when the phases or eclipses happen. Looking at all the evidence
sheets, you can see that as the diagram and positioning of the sun, Earth, and
moon change, the phases of the moon change too. This is what my claim
states. The evidence sheets that I made consist of a picture of the model, a
drawing of the model at the time the picture was taken, and a drawing of what
phase of the moon I thought the model was showing. I drew arrows showing
the correlation between the model and the phase. Above, I stated that as the
positions of the sun, Earth, and moon changed, the phases of the moon
changed too. Again, this is what my claim states. Therefore, my evidence
supports my claim, the moon looks different over time because of the different
positions of the sun, moon, and Earth over time, which can sometimes cause
eclipses if in the perfect position. Perfect eclipses are remarkably rare, as the
tilt of Earths axis and the elliptical orbit combined makes it hard to get that
perfect angle. However, with our model, we managed to make an almost
perfect solar eclipse. Making a lunar eclipse with styrofoam balls is almost
impossible, as the reddish tinge of the moon is caused by the bending of light
rays in Earths atmosphere. However, I do have an evidence sheet with the
theoretical positions of the moon, Earth, and sun. This evidence, along with the
one on solar eclipses, supports the second part of my claim, that eclipses are
caused by the different positions of the Earth, sun, and moon, and that they are
rare because the imperfect orbit and axis make it difficult to let the Earth, sun, and moon align
properly. All of the evidence above supports my claim and argument: The moon looks different over

time because of the different positions of the sun, moon, and Earth over time, which can sometimes
also cause eclipses.

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