Sample Moon Talk Worksheet
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Moon Talk
By Laura G. Smith
  

1     It's the earth's only natural satellite-a glowing globe that appears in the night sky capturing the attention of all who gaze in its direction. Although the earth's moon seems to be "shining" its own light, it is really reflecting light from the sun. Some nights the moon looks like a huge, round, shiny ball, and other nights it appears as just a thin sliver of light. Although the moon seems to be changing shapes, it really isn't. It just looks different because it is reflecting varying amounts of sunlight during each of its phases.
 
2     The phases are caused by the continuous movement of the earth and its moon. The earth is constantly "revolving" or traveling in an oval shape around the sun. The path it travels is referred to as its orbit. As the earth is orbiting the sun, the moon is orbiting the earth. The moon moves at an amazing average speed of about 2,300 miles per hour! As the earth and moon revolve, different amounts of sunlight are reflected to the earth, causing the moon to change in appearance (ranging from a "new moon" to a waning crescent").
 
3     It takes the moon one month to travel one time around the earth passing through a complete cycle of its phases. In ancient times, before calendars were used, people looked at the phases of the moon to measure weeks and months. They knew that four weeks passed between one full moon and the next.
 
4     Sometimes, as the moon circles the earth, it passes directly between the earth and the sun. This causes a solar eclipse, which blocks our view of the sun for a short while. Another type of eclipse is a lunar eclipse. This occurs when the earth passes directly between the sun and the moon briefly blocking out the moon. Before scientists were able to learn what causes eclipses, people were frightened by them and feared the world was coming to an end!

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