Weird Science: Phases of the Moon - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Weird Science: Phases of the Moon

Things you will need:

  • Flashlight
  • Dark room
  • Ball (lighter color works better)
  • An assistant

The Experiment:

For this experiment, one person will be the sun, and one person will be the Earth, and the ball represents the moon. The person who is the sun will hold the flashlight. The suns job is to stand in place but keep the light shining on the moon at all times. Try not to shine the light in the other person's eyes. The person who is the Earth will be holding the ball/moon out in front of them. The Earth starts by facing the sun with the moon between the Earth and the Sun. From the Earth's point of view, the moon is dark. This is the new moon. Then the Earth will start to slowly turn to the left. As the moon starts to light up, you will see a waxing crescent moon. When the Earth has made a 90° turn, the Earth's shoulder should be facing the sun. The Earth should see the right half the moon lit up, this is called the waxing quarter moon (or half moon). As the Earth turns further to the left and three-quarters of the moon is lit up, this is called the waxing gibbous moon. Then, when the Earth's back is to the sun, the entire moon should be lit, the full moon. As the Earth keeps turning left, it goes through the same phases, except these are called waning moon phases. So this is how we see the moon from the Earth as we travel around the sun. Change places with your partner to let them see the phases of the moon.

Honolulu Theater for Youth

If you'd like to learn more about America's space program and our first mission to the moon, the Honolulu Theater for Youth is introducing Apollo to the Moon, which opens this Friday, January 28, 2011.

Explore one of America's most exciting eras, as the country reaches for the moon in this compelling dramatic presentation, originally commissioned for the Smithsonian Institution. Introducing today's young audiences to the glory days of the space program, the production includes over 100 NASA photographs and original broadcasts from space.

Suggested for ages 5 and older

Please visit to purchase tickets.

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