School Projects on Lunar Eclipses

••• Sciencing

A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, earth and moon are all in alignment. The earth casts a shadow over the moon creating the eclipse. Lunar eclipses are more common than solar eclipses and can be viewed from all over the world. Projects on lunar eclipses can detail the different types of lunar eclipses that occur, the mechanics behind the eclipse and additional information that can be ascertained through observing the eclipses.

Model of Lunar Eclipse

A model of a lunar eclipse requires a light source, a medium foam ball and a small foam ball. Place the balls on a stick; styrofoam balls and skewers work well (we used wooden attachments and candle holders).

    Paint the larger ball to look like the earth, and the smaller ball to look like the moon.

    ••• Sciencing

    The larger ball needs to be in a stationary position, so the smaller one can rotate around it. Make sure both are securely fastened.

    ••• Sciencing

    Place the light source so that all the light is shining on the ball, which will cast a shadow. Discuss rotation of the earth and moon around the sun. When the moon, which is represented by the smaller ball, enters the shadow of the earth, a lunar eclipse occurs.

Types of Lunar Eclipses

There are two types of lunar eclipses, partial and total. Partial eclipses are when the moon enters into the earth's umbra, or dark part of its shadow. This will cause a partial darkening of the moon's face. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the entire moon is in the umbra. Produce pictures or make reproductions of how the moon looks when it is in a partial or total eclipse. There are also four levels of darkness and colors associated with each level.

Why Doesn't it Occur More Often?

Prove why a lunar eclipse does not occur more often. The earth is between the sun and moon many times during the course of the year but lunar eclipses happen very rarely. The angle of the moon's orbit is on a 5 percent incline compared to earth. This variant keeps eclipses from occurring more often. In fact, there are two intersections where the lunar eclipse occurs at the ascending and desceding nodes, or the intersecting paths of the rotations. This can be demonstrated by holding two hula hoops slightly offset from one another but crossing at two points. Your head can represent the earth and each hula hoop represents the moon and sun. Just make certain everyone is aware that the sun does not rotate around the earth.

Math and the Moon

In 270 B.C. Aristarchus was able to determine the distance between the moon and earth by using the length of a total lunar eclipse. It was assumed that the earth was a sphere but everything rotated around the planet. This project is good for high school students as it utilizes the constant pi and the length of a total solar eclipse to determine that the moon is roughly 60 earth radii, or 30 diameters away. This means we can place 30 earths between the earth and moon.

Related Articles

Ideas for Science Fair Measurement Projects
How to Build a 3D Model of the Solar System
Ideas for a Solar Eclipse Project for High School Students
How to Make a Solar System Model at Home for a School...
How to Make a Foam Model of Earth's Rotation
How to Use a Bushnell Reflector Telescope
What Is the Difference Between Umbra and Penumbra?
Ideas for Science Fair Measurement Projects
How to Make a Model for a 6th-Grade Science Project...
How to Make a 3D Solar System
How is Parallax Used to Measure the Distances to Stars?
How Does the Moon Affect Earth's Seasons?
How to Measure the Height of a Flagpole
How to Make Solar System Projects for Kids
How to Make a Model of the Planet Neptune
3D Moon Phase Projects for Kids
Space Facts for Preschool
What Are the Causes of Lunar and Solar Eclipses?
What Tide Corresponds With a Solar Eclipse?
How to Make a Solar System Model for Kids in Shoe Box