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  • In this activity, students observe how the Moon appears to move across the sky each hour, as well as over several days. They discuss how both the rotation of the Earth as well as the satellite motion of the Moon cause this apparent motion.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • point out the path that the Moon appears to travel across the sky each day or night and how far the Moon appears to move each hour
    • describe how this apparent motion is caused by the spinning of the Earth on its axis
    • record the change in position of the Moon in the sky at the same time each evening or early morning
    • describe how this apparent change in position is caused by the Moon orbiting the Earth
    • observe Jupiter’s four largest natural satellites and measure how long it takes each to orbit Jupiter.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • introduction/background notes
    • what you need
    • what to do
    • student handouts
    • discussion questions
    • extension ideas.

    Related content

    This article examines how the Moon has been the subject of myths, alternative conceptions and conspiracies for decades, look at some of the most popular alternative conceptions and why we've yet to colonise the Moon.

    Useful link

    Visit the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium website for resources and activities regarding the Moon – why we can see it during the day and lunar eclipses.

      Published 27 March 2013, Updated 20 May 2015 Referencing Hub articles
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