The Lunar Cycle

moon_phases.png
NASA

The moon completes it orbit around Earth every 29.5 days, creating the lunar cycle. The most interesting thing I learned from the Chapter 2 reading was that the word “month” is meant to sound like “moon” – I’m surprised I never knew the origin of the word before! As the moon orbits Earth, we are able to see different portions of it illuminated, which is why we have a new moon,  a full moon, and everything in between. The moon goes through a series of phases, as it grows by waxing and shrinks by waning. I found this game online and it’s a cute way for kids to get a better sense of the phases of the moon. Give it a try – it’s a fun puzzle to remind us how we, as observers on Earth, can watch the moon change each day of the month.

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3 thoughts on “The Lunar Cycle

  1. Awesome post! Many people observe calendars based on the lunar cycle, such as the Islamic calendar and the Hebrew calendar. However, these calendars quickly become misaligned with the solar calendar, requiring the addition of an extra (intercalary) month in order to realign the calendar with the seasons.

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  2. What a succinct way to explain the moon’s phases: “As the moon orbits Earth, we are able to see different portions of [the moon] illuminated.” Understanding what’s actually going on with the moon and its revolution around the earth is one thing, but observing it happening is another. That’s why I was so intrigued with the game you found on the lunar cycles. Usually, going from 2D thoughts on a paper to 3D models is seen as a step forward in understanding something. But I really like how the calendar in the game is laid out with the lunar phases on each date (even if it’s 2D). Paired with the understanding of how the moon’s phases are actually created, I think it’s a useful tool to take a step back and look at the big picture (literally and figuratively) of the result of the process.

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