AST 131 DCC Phases of The Moon Astronomy Lab

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Moon Phase Lab


Learn the causes of the phases of the Moon.


Print out and complete the following moon phase exercise. Following the completion, you may either fax or scan your drawing and send it to me. Note, if you are going to fax it to me, e-mail me a note first letting me know that you are.

Phases of the Moon Exercise

(prepared by the University of Michigan)

In this exercise, you will investigate the cause of the phases of the Moon. The figure below shows an orbital diagram of the Earth-Moon system as viewed from above the Earth’s north pole. Light from the Sun is coming from the left. Note that the drawing is not to scale.

Section I

Shade in the part of the Moon that is in shadow and the part that is unobservable from Earth in each of the eight numbered positions. The first has been completed as an example. (Use dark shading for the shadow, light cross-hatch for the unobservable side.)

second assignment

Discussion Mercury

A classmate of yours, who really likes the Sun, has suggested that NASA should build an unmanned solar observatory station on the planet Mercury. Based on your knowledge of Mercury select a location on the planet to place the station and discuss the materials you would select to construct your station and why you would place it at your selected location.

third assignment

Discussion Earth

Spend some time researching the green house effect both on Earth and on Venus. Compare the green house effect on Earth to Venus then discuss two similarities and two differences in the green house effect between Earth and Venus with your classmates

forth assignment

Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases Study

In order to better understand both the atmospheres of Earth and Venus, I want you to explore the internet and find answers the following questions:

  • Find and list five greenhouse gases.
  • Which one is the most dominate on Earth and Venus? What percent of the Earth’s and Venus’s atmosphere is composed of this gas?
  • List and describe two greenhouse gases that are made by humans on Earth. Are these and any others found on Venus?
  • Why do we study the planet Earth as one interconnected system?
  • How do we know that the Earth’s climate is changing and what role does the greenhouse gases play in it?
  • Compare our greenhouse gas system with that of Venus. What would have to happen to Earth to become like Venus in our greenhouse system?