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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moon's phase 3. time 4. Part II: Visualizing Phases Question 1: We can determine the appearance of the moon based on the orientation of the moon and sun with a simple heuristic. In the figure below, bisect the moon twice. a) Draw a line (perpendicular to the direction of sunlight) that shows the half of the entire moon that is illuminated and shade the shadowed region. b) Draw a line (perpendicular to the Earth-moon line) that shows the half of the moon visible for an observer on earth. c) Mark the region that is both visible from earth and illuminated by the sun. That region will be the phase of the moon we on earth see.

We normally draw the phases of the moon with the terminator (the dividing line between light and shadow) from the north pole to the south pole of the moon. This is how the moon would be seen if it were on the observer’s meridian. We can use the drawing above to determine the amount of illumination and whether it is on the left or right hand side of the moon. Use the drawing above to draw the appearance of the moon in the box below.

NAAP – Lunar Phase Simulator 4/11

Open the Moon Bisector Demo and use the simulator to check your answer to the above problem.

Part III: Working with the Lunar Phase Simulator
The items below will help familiarize yourself with the controls and usability features of the simulator.      If you have not already done so, launch the NAAP Lunar Phase Simulator The main panel has sunlight, the