Why Do Eclipses Happen? (Yardstick Eclipse Demonstration) View larger

Why Do Eclipses Happen? (Yardstick Eclipse Demonstration)

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Using simple materials, participants explore the vast distance between the Earth and Moon and model how solar and lunar eclipses happen.

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    Participants Learned from This Activity 
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Related Programming Resources

Hints for uses in your library Be sure to practice this activity before your program -- it is a bit tricky to get the "Moon" and "Earth" balls to line up correctly the first time. If you do not have time to cover the full activity, this set of materials also provides a great demonstration of just how far apart the Moon and Earth are from each other. If it is too cloudy to use sunlight as the light source, use a very bright light, like an LED flashlight, instead.
Related Links 2017 Solar Eclipse Guide
What is a Solar Eclipse? - Space Place in a Snap!
Originating Source Night Sky Network
Related Books
[Suggest a book]
When the Sun Goes Dark, by Andrew Fraknoi and Dennis Schatz
Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets, by Tyler Nordgren

Reviews

 
Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
04/20/2018

A bit tricky, but helps establish the point

We used this as a demo while waiting for the Solar Eclipse to happen, with varying success. Some participants were able to easily recreate the experiment, but others had a hard time lining up the ruler to a light source to recreate the eclipse. For young participants, this was frustrating; older participants enjoyed the challenge of making it work. If you were to do this for a young crowd (7 and under), I would recommend that it be a family event, so parents can assist their children with recreating the experiment. Visually, though, it was a great aid in showing what exactly was happening during an eclipse.

Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
11/07/2017

Fun

Make sure to practice this before actually doing it. It can be hard to line up the Sun and Moon.

Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
09/05/2017

Yardstick explains solar eclipse

We used this demo in our preview sessions
before the eclipse with adults and children.
We also used it during the eclipse to talk to patrons who were in line at our solar telescopes.

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Why Do Eclipses Happen? (Yardstick Eclipse Demonstration)

Why Do Eclipses Happen? (Yardstick Eclipse Demonstration)

Using simple materials, participants explore the vast distance between the Earth and Moon and model how solar and lunar eclipses happen.