Astronomy 101

By:Elizabeth Rowe

Phases of the Moon

I know and can teach you all about the phases of the moon.

The first thing you need to know is that the moon orbits the Earth. There are 8 different types of phases of the moon. Four of those phases of the moon include words like waxing, waning, crescent, and gibbous. Lets talk about those words, what they mean, and what the difference is between them.

  1. The difference between waxing and waning is that waxing is when the illumination increases and waning is when the illumination decreases
  2. The difference between crescent and gibbous is that crescent is when the moon is less than 1/2 and gibbous is when the moon is more than 1/2
  3. The last part about talking about the phases of the moon is the length of a Lunar Cycle. What is a lunar cycle? A lunar cycle is another term for Metonic Cycle which is from a new moon to a new moon. The length of a lunar cycle is 29.5 days.
That is all that you have learned about the phases of the moon.
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In this section of our Astronomy 101, I am going to teach you all about Tides and different tides as well. I am going to also teach you some keys words like Neap, Spring, Diurnal, and Semidiurnal. Lets talk about the difference between those words.

  • The difference between Neap Tides and Spring Tides is that Neap Tides are weak tides, the sun and moon are perpendicular to each other, and that the sun and moon's gravity cancel each other out. Spring Tides occur when the Earth, Sun, and Moon are in a line and that they are strong tides.
  • Now lets talk about Diurnal, and Semidiurnal. The difference between diurnal and semidiurnal tides is that diurnal tides have a single high tide and a single low tide per tidal day. Semidiurnal tides have two high tides and two low tides that about have equal height each tidal day.
  • Our final lesson on Tides is the sun and moon's impact on tides. So exactly how do the sun and the moon impact tides? The moon impacts tides by the moon pulling on the ocean which then creates a high tide and on the bottom another high tide is created because the Earth itself is pulled towards the moon even though it is farthest from the moon. The sun impacts tides by when the moon and the sun are in line,the sun enhances the moon's gravitational pull creating higher tides than normal which are called Spring Tides.
That is all about tides that you need to know:)
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There are different kinds of eclipses, but are really cool at the same time. I am going to tell you about the two different kinds of eclipses, and the difference between them. You are also going to learn the two different shadows.

  • The two different kinds of eclipses are lunar and solar eclipse. The difference between them is that a lunar eclipse occurs when there is a full moon, and is when the moon passes behind the Earth such that the Earth blocks out the sunlight and cast its shadow over the moon. A solar eclipse occurs when there is a new moon and the moon moves across the disc of the sun and cast its shadow across the face of the Earth.
  • Lets talk about the shadows of the lunar and solar eclipse. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Earth is in the umbra and when the Earth is in the penumbra it is a partial eclipse. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the entire moon passes through the umbra, and when the moon passes through the penumbra it is a partial eclipse.
Well, now you have learned the two kinds of eclipses and their shadows:)
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The last and final topic about learning astronomy 101 is seasons. Let's talk about the reasons for seasons.

  • Let's talk about the rotation. Earth rotates on its axis. Did you know that one full day is one rotation of the Earth? Day on Earth is when our part of the Earth is facing the sun, and night on the Earth is when our side of the Earth is facing away from the sun. The revolution of the Earth is when the Earth orbits the sun. Did you know it takes the Earth 365 days to revolve around the sun?!
  • Now let's talk about the tilt of the Earth on its axis. The tilt of the Earth's axis is 23.5 degrees. That is why we have seasons!
  • Why is a year a year? Well, let's find out. The reason a year is a year is because when the Earth takes 365 days to revolve around the sun once, that is a year.
  • The last and final thing we are going to talk about season is the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere, and the equator. The difference between the northern and southern hemispheres is that when it is summer time in the northern hemisphere, it is winter time in the southern hemisphere. When it is winter time in the northern hemisphere, it's summer in the southern hemisphere. It is the same with fall and spring. The difference between the northern and the southern hemispheres and the equator is that sunlight strikes the Earth most directly at the equator. Both day and night last 12 hours at all latitudes. This only happens twice a year.
That is the end of learning about seasons!
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