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Observing the Moon’s Phases

Department of Physics, University of Colorado at Denver
Physics 1052 (General Astronomy)
Experiment #3 — Observing the Moon’s Phases
The purpose of this experiment is to acquaint
you with the relationship of the Earth, Moon and
Sun as the Moon orbits the Earth. As the Moon orb
its the Earth, we see the
sun light reflected off
its surface in varying degrees that we call phas
es. By looking at the Moon, we can deduce the
relative positions of
the three bodies.
At least once a week you need to
go out and observe the Moon a
nd draw a picture of what the
phase of the Moon looks like in
the sky and then on the same page, draw a picture of you on the
Earth and where the Moon is in relation to the S
un and the Earth as shown in the figure (this is
just an example of what should be included in
the diagram but not an accurate drawing). Make
sure you include the date, time of observation and the viewing location for each observation, Try
to go out on the same day each week for four we
eks, if there are cloud, you can wait a day or
two later. There will have to be two consecu
tive weeks of overcast conditions to postpone the lab.
Phase: Full Moon