This project is discontinued until further notice.  Contact me if you wish to try it for extra credit.

The purpose of the Moon observation project is to get you to go outside and look up. Most people donít. Be aware that a whole universe exists up there. By watching the Moon, your thoughts should be drawn outward, instead of directed inward towards yourself. Most people never really look at the Moon. In fact, many people are not aware that you can see the Moon in the day time.

Even though the Moon observation project represents the easiest points in the class, not doing it is the number one cause of poor grades in the class.


1. MAKE YOUR OWN OBSERVATIONS. Even if you are working with someone else. I donít want to see what your partner thinks you should see. I want to see what you saw on the Moon. IF ANY PART OF THE MOON PROJECT IS FABRICATED OR PERFORMED BY SOMEONE ELSE YOU WILL RECEIVE ZERO POINTS FOR THE ENTIRE PROJECT. Please be careful with this. Donít make rough sketches and then "clean them up" for inclusion in the project. I want to see your ORIGINAL sketches and measurements. Donít copy them onto clean sketch sheets at a later date. Turn in ONLY originals (unless the dog ate them - in which case you should write those off).

2.  Make 5 sketches of the Moon on the observation sheets that are provided for you. Each sketch is worth 10 points. Take about 10 minutes (time yourself if you have to), and really look at the Moon. What can you see on itís surface? You may wish to shade the visible portion of the Moon as uniform gray with a pencil in your sketch. Then you can erase areas that appear bright and shade dark areas darker with your pencil. Donít just sketch the phase and leave it at that. Look for surface details. If you still canít see any, then indicate that in the notes part of the sketch sheet.

Each sketch must be separated by at least 3 days of PHASE. What this means is that if you sketch a full moon tonight, and then go out in another 29 days and sketch another full moon, the second one wonít count because it is the same phase (even though the sketch was 29 days later, it is not separated by 3 days of phase). I will then count the second sketch as an extra credit sketch, which is worth three points instead of ten. So make sure that you turn in five different phases for your project. You can always show them to me if you are concerned whether the observed phases are different enough.

If you sketch the Moon tonight and then see the Moon again tomorrow, go ahead and sketch it! It will count as an extra credit sketch, and you can label it as such (see extra credit instruction sheet for details).

3.  Carefully record the date and time of the observation. Be sure to clearly indicate whether the time is AM or PM (or just use "military" time). As stated above, the Moon can be out during daylight hours. Donít guess here. I am assuming that you have recorded the date and time accurately. Blow it here and it may cost you the whole Moon project.

4.  Record the Azimuth of the Moon. The azimuth is the direction of the Moon, measured in degrees east of north. This means that north is 0 degrees, east is 90, south is 180, and west is 270. Please record a number between 0 and 360 degrees. You will need to use a compass or map to be accurate to the nearest 10 degrees or so.

5.  Record the Altitude of the Moon. The altitude is the distance the Moon is above the horizon. Eye-level is your horizon. Use your fist, which represents 10 degrees. The zenith is 90 degrees altitude and the horizon is 0.

6.  Sketch the Sun-Earth-Moon geometry. Put the Sun at the left in the diagram. Draw the Earth and the orbit of the Moon, showing the direction of its orbit. Then place the Moon at the proper location in its orbit for the phase that you sketched.