(Photo Credit: Chris Sommers)
You can see it from bright cities or dark skies. It has more legends associated with it than any other astronomical object. And almost everyone knows our Moon as soon as they see it. Astronomy clubs use the Moon's popularity to get people thinking about astronomy and what is observable. Using interactive demonstrations, kinesthetic activities, and telescopes, these clubs are showing kids of all ages the wonders of the night sky.
At the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Ohio, Cheri Adams held a star party with the Miami Valley Astronomical Society: "I set up a couple bright lights to simulate the sun. I had one child hold the earth globe and all the other children get in a circle around the earth. I had them figure out which person's moon was in the correct place for a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse. Then I had each child and some adults walk through the shadow that the earth globe cast with their small paper plates to see the difference in the earth's shadows, the penumbral and the umbral. But the moon pies at the end of the program were the biggest hit. Afterwards the observatory was open so all could view the moon (waxing crescent) through the telescope."
The Norman North Astronomy Club recently talked about features on the Moon. Eileen Grzybowski asked the students, "why the Moon had a face. Many of the students had never realized that there was a 'Man in the Moon.' We performed the cocoa and flour demonstration. They thought I was crazy but loved it!" What a great way to get a conversation started about caterings on the Moon.
Robert Novins, with the Astronomical Society of the Toms River Area (ASTRA) in New Jersey got the whole crowd excited about the Moon. "I had a 16 month old at my scope looking at the moon and we helped a 90 year old woman climb the ladder to see the moon. When she looked in she screamed 'Oh! Oh! I got my fix!'"
Attend a local star party and learn more about the wonders of the Moon. To find an astronomy club near you, click here.