Posts tagged: moon

Super Fun with the Supermoon

By , November 15, 2016 9:09 pm

1024px-fullmoon2010

Image: By Gregory H. Revera (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Have you and your family been moongazing the last few nights to see the “Supermoon?”  Last night the moon was at its closest point to Earth since 1948 and it appeared 15% bigger and 30% brighter than usual.

We went outside to check it out.  This time we didn’t lie on the golf course wondering about the timing of the sprinklers, but we did stand in the driveway to get a good look at the moon as it rose over the mountain.  I felt I could see detailed lunar features without binoculars or a telescope (and I can’t even see what is right in front of me without glasses anymore!) but I think the incredible brightness was what struck us the most.

If your kids are moon-crazy now, here are a few moon-related resources and educational ideas that might be just the ticket to feed their interest:

 

Educational Experiments and Activities

  • Oreo Moon Phase Match Game (with free printable template) from Simply Learning: A fun matching activity to learn about the phases of the moon, plus kids can eat their work when they are done. What could be better?
  • How the Moon’s Craters Form: An easy activity involving flour and a weighted plastic Easter egg teaches how the moon’s craters are formed.  For older kids, the activity also involves experimenting with the different factors that determine the size of lunar craters, and recording the data.  There is even a free printable data collection worksheet.

 

Books

(By the way, Kitten’s First Full Moon is one of my very favorite picture books EVER!)

Mom Unplugged vs. Evil Sleepy Poser Mom – Lunar Dilemma, Part 2

By , August 28, 2007 9:00 pm

NOTE: This post will make more sense if you first read part 1: The Moon Unplugged? Not For Me!!

I know that “my public” is in complete suspense about the outcome of my lunar eclipse dilemma, so I will put the two of you out of your collective misery and tell you who won. Was the victor Mom Unplugged or the Evil Sleepy Mom?

The answer is: guilt prevailed and I think I deserve a genuine Good Mom Award for this one!!

I set my alarm for 2:30 AM so as to not be the complete loser I knew I would be by certainly sleeping through the entire eclipse. Unfortunately the moon was not conveniently eclipsing directly over the skylights above my bed. And…horror of horrors…I could actually see STARS, many, many stars. Not a single cloud in the sky. There went my bad weather excuse.

I decided to drag myself out of bed to try and find the moon. I was also worried that the three new kittens on their first night completely loose in the house, might have become terminally ensnared in the hanging beads of their favorite lampshade. Despite having moved that particular floor lamp away from any easy launching pads, I quite expected to come downstairs to find all three kittens, each dangling from the lampshade by a single claw.

Perhaps all was not lost in the sleep department either. Maybe the moon was putting on its special show directly over the living room skylight that is above the sofa. I had visions of continuing my sleep on the sofa while my junior astronomer studied the eclipse beside me. Or better yet, parking my daughter on the sofa with some binoculars and then going back to bed!

Well, there were no Cirque du Soleil kittens suspended from lampshades, and I did see the moon through a living room skylight, but unfortunately not the one over the sofa.

Despite having witnessed several other lunar eclipses in my life, I was still awestruck. For a homework assignment over the weekend, my daughter had just observed that the moon was pretty much full, yet here it was suddenly looking more like a crescent. I decided that I had better be a Good Mom after all and wake her up.

But first I wanted to find the binoculars that I hadn’t seen for three years. As I wandered around the house in search of them, first one kitten, then another, attached itself to my pajama pant legs. There I was, searching the house for a pair of fatally missing binoculars at 2:40 AM with a kitten dangling from each leg of my pajamas, swinging to and fro as I walked.

“OK, enough is enough!” I thought, as I gave up on the binoculars, detached the kittens, and went to wake my daughter. I hopefully thought that my little girl might be a less enthusiastic scientist at this hour, but she eagerly leapt out of bed.

“WOW!” she said as she saw the partially eclipsed moon. We talked about the science of it all as we watched, first from the living room, then from the back deck. Just as it was about to totally eclipse, it occurred to me that we might as well do this up right so I grabbed a flashlight and warm jackets and led us through the backyard and out onto the golf course directly behind our house.

We laid down side by side on the cold, damp grass and there, finally free of the tall Ponderosa Pines that fill our yard, we beheld quite a spectacle. The starry sky formed a perfect dome above us. The now orange-red totally eclipsed moon was, of course, the main attraction. But we had plenty of other celestial wonders to discover alone together, recumbent in our pajamas at 3AM in the middle of the 10th fairway.

We identified the milky way and several constellations. We also saw shooting stars, a first for my daughter. Most were the rapidly fleeting kind, but one was a big slow-moving object that seemed to trail a long tail across the sky before finally evaporating.

I must admit that as we lay there, I was wondering about the schedule of the sprinklers and half expected our lovely time to be rudely interrupted by a sudden dousing of cold water. But we escaped them. Although a bit later, finally back in my warm bed, I did hear the sputterings and squirtings of them turning on. We had a narrow escape!

As we meandered back to bed at about 3:30 AM, my daughter told me that she would dream she was riding between Mars and Earth on a shooting star, sitting astride it and holding on to the top point.

I must say I really did feel like a “real” Mom of the Year as I, slightly damp but happy, tucked her back in bed and kissed her goodnight. Thank you Mr. N (her teacher) for encouraging us to break our routine and gaze at the moon in the middle of the night.

The Moon Unplugged? Not For Me!!

By , August 27, 2007 9:52 pm

My second grade daughter came home from school today positively vibrating with excitement at the prospect of viewing the total lunar eclipse tonight.

I should have been overjoyed by my child’s excitement at the chance to observe first-hand a scientific wonder, a miracle of nature, becoming one with the universe for the very first time, etc. etc. etc. I should also have mentally applauded her new teacher for managing to instill in my daughter this voracious hunger for learning more about our universe.

My real mental first response: “Huh? Doesn’t all that happen at night? When I am enjoying my blessed few hours of solitude, comfortably asleep in my warm bed? Doesn’t it happen outside…where it is, well…cold? WHAT WAS MR. N. THINKING???”

My next thought was: “Can’t we just watch it online in the morning? Plus it’ll go faster and we won’t have to sit there for the full three and a half hours. We can’t Tivo or time lapse the real thing, plus we’ll freeze to death and be tired and crabby. With a time lapse webcam we could see the whole three and a half hours in about 20 seconds…and still get our sleep!”

I am ashamed of myself. Mom Unplugged indeed. Lover of nature and the outdoors, devoted to my children’s education…and it actually occurred to me to watch this great natural spectacle online in fast forward!! Or maybe on YouTube, like this version of the total lunar eclipse that occurred back in March.

I have reached a three-part mental compromise:

1) There are three skylights over my bed. If I wake up in the night and see the moon through the skylights, I will get my daughter and we can watch from the warmth of my bed. (In other words…she will be educated while I sleep. What could be better?)

2) If the moon decides to be stubborn and not position itself conveniently over my bed for its eclipse, then I will conduct a scientific analysis of the apparent cloud cover mathematically combined with my state of alertness, and then decide whether or not to get up and search for that naughty, uncooperative moon. (In other words…I might get to sleep. Hey, it might even be too cloudy!)

3) I sleep through the whole thing and I will have earned myself yet another Mom of the Year Award (In other words…I get to sleep, but with a guilty conscience.)

Some lunar eclipse links:

NASA’s Lunar Eclipse Page

Lunar Eclipses for Beginners

Eclipse Photos: Mr. Eclipse Photo Index

And finally…for those Poser Unplugged Moms like I evidently am, there is this link with instructions on where to go online to find that perfect, “virtual eclipse:”

Watch a Virtual Eclipse

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