Lunar Phase Simulator – Student Guide

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Lunar Phase Simulator – Student Guide
Part I: Background Material
Answer the following questions after reviewing the background pages for the simulator.
Page 1 – Introduction to Moon Phases

Is there a dark side of the moon? (Note: this question can be effectively answered either yes or no, so it is important to explain your reasoning.) Some people refer to the side of the moon that we never see from Earth as the dark side. However, this is inaccurate since the far side is not always dark. For example, during the new moon, when the side facing Earth is completely dark, the other side of the moon is facing the sun, so it is in full sunlight. Since the Moon rotates at the same time it takes to orbit Earth, both sides of the
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In the diagram below the sun's light is coming in from the right. The moon's location is marked at several points on its orbit. These are the points the moon was at when the sketches above were drawn. Identify each position with the letter of the corresponding sketch.

NAAP – Lunar Phase Simulator 2/11

Page 3 – The Time of Day

Use the interactive diagram at the bottom of the page to determine the direction of the earth’s rotation when viewed from above the North Pole. (Hint: rotate the observer – the stickfigure – to the noontime position, then sunset position, then midnight position, and finally back to sunrise position. The earth has made one complete rotation and the observer has experience one daily (diurnal) cycle of day and night.) When viewed from above the North Pole, does the earth rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise? _counter-clockwise
Page 4 – Rising and Setting

Page 5 – The Horizon Diagram

Describe the location of the moon in the sky of the horizon diagram at bottom. Use direction words (like north, west, etc.) and estimate its altitude in degrees. Location of the moon – east. Altitude = 00
Page 6 – The Witness and the Detective

If we know the moon's position in the sky and its phase, we can estimate the time. In general, knowing any two of the

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