Solar eclipse model ideas

Throughout an eclipse, the Sun or the Moon appears to disshow up, these are dubbed solar or lunar eclipses, respectively. These huge sensations have been shrouded in myth and legend throughout history. How do they happen?

In this activity, explore these fascinatingnaturalphenomenathrough an easy-to-develop version and also learn about the motion of the Sun, the Planet and the Moon.

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For each design, you will certainly need:

Adhesive tapeGlueTwo cardboard tubes (e.g. empty toilet paper rolls)Scissors (suitable for cutting cardboard)Aluminium foilSturdy but bendable wire (35–50 cm long)Styrofoam ball (about the dimension of a big orange)Ping pong ball (or a Styrofoam ball of a comparable size)Large spilgrimage of cardboard (around 60 cm lengthy and no less than 20 cm wide)Stack of publications or magazines
Learning Objectives
Discover around the activity of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon relative to each other.Build and also use a model of the Sun, Moon and Planet device to discover exactly how and why eclipses occur.
Background Information

Lunar Eclipses: Although the Moon frequently shines brightly in the night sky, it isn"t actually emitting its very own light, it ssuggest reflects light from the Sun. The shape of the Moon that you see depends on both where you are on Planet and at which point the Moon is in its 28-day (one month) cycle around Earth.

Eexceptionally month the Moon completes a cycle, founding as a finish circle (the full moon), slowly shrinking night-by-night till it has become invisible (the brand-new moon), then swelling to a complete circle aobtain. These stperiods are called the "phases of the Moon" (check out Image 1).

When the Moon is on the far side of the Earth from the Sun, the 3 bodies perform not lie in a right line; instead, the Moon is located slightly over the Planet and so it deserve to still be illuminated by the Sun, so we view a full moon.

However, on average 1.5 times a year, the Earth passes directly between the Sun and also the Moon, and also the Moon is completely concealed in the Earth’s shadow – we speak to this a "lunar eclipse. As the Moon enters the Earth’s shadow (dubbed the "umbra") and also travels via it, it takes on a beautiful dim red glow. As the Moon crosses in or out of the umbra, observers have the right to check out the curve of Earth partly shadowing the Moon. This partial shadow is dubbed the penumbra. (view Image 2)

Solar Eclipses: Unfavor lunar eclipses, solar eclipses are extremely rare, occurring on average simply once every two years across the entire world. Most civilization will certainly never before view one because solar eclipses are only visible from reasonably tiny areas of Planet at any kind of one time. Solar and also lunar eclipses have actually rather various causes; in the time of a solar eclipse, we are in shadow — the Moon passes exactly in front of the Sun and casts a shadow on Planet. The Moon is a lot smaller sized than the Sun, meaning this shadow will certainly only be checked out from a small location of the Planet.

To understand this, hold your thumb in front of the Sun so that it is completely extended. Your eyes are in the shadow of your thumb, however it does not influence the perchild standing beside you, as they are not in the very same shadow. The Sun looks normal to them.

Once the Moon moves directly between the Earth and also the Sun, it shows up as a black disk in the skies surrounded by a "crvery own of fire". That fire is actually the Sun behind the Moon. Once the Moon passes by, the full, burning light of the Sun returns (seeImperiods 3–5).

Full Activity Description

Step 1

Divide the course into groups of 3 or 4. Give each team the materials to make their very own version of the Sun-Moon-Planet mechanism.

Step 2

Take one cardboard tube and make a series of little (2-cm deep), also, vertical cuts approximately the circumference of each end.

Tip 3

Bend the cut pieces out at each end and also then stand also the tube upappropriate. The cut edges need to fan out like a freduced (Image 6).


Step 4

Using adhesive tape, fasten one end of the cardboard tube to the cardboard spilgrimage to produce the base of the version. The tube need to be at least 30 cm from one end of the cardboard strip.

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Tip 5

Using tape or glue, connect the bigger round to the top of the tube. This ball represents the Earth (Image 7).


Step 6

Cover the smaller ball with aluminium foil, through the shiny side on the exterior. This will be the Moon.

Tip 7

Insert one finish of the wire right into the optimal of Earth so that the wire is vertical.

Tip 8

Measure approximately a finger’s size along the wire and bfinish the wire below at a appropriate angle, developing a horizontal arm.

Step 9

About halfmethod between the Earth and also the much end of the cardboard spilgrimage, measure a finger’s length along the wire and bfinish it aget. This time bfinish it downwards at a best angle, towards the cardboard base.

Step 10

Insert the other end of the wire right into the "Moon". The Moon’s equator need to be at the same elevation as the Earth’s equator (Image 8).


Tip 11

Balance the torch on a stack of books or magazines at the opposite finish of the cardboard spilgrimage from the “Earth”. Make sure the elevation is correct: the middle of the torch beam need to hit Earth’s equator.

If the beam is also diffuse, affix the second cardboard tube to the end of the torch to straight the light. Encertain that the beam straight hits the nearest half of the Planet and also the Moon. If the beam is not bideal sufficient, relocate the stack of books closer (Image 9).


Step 12

Now students will usage their models.

Step 13

Begin by asking your students if they have ever watched an eclipse. Was it a solar or a lunar eclipse? Exordinary that solar eclipses are much much less widespread than lunar eclipses, but today they will be lucky sufficient to watch both!

Step 14

Create a solar eclipse: Stand facing the torch and swing the wire around till the Moon casts a shadow on the Earth; if vital, dim the lights in the room. The Moon is now positioned in between the Planet and the Sun and is blocking the “sunshine” for some people on Planet. Point out that just human being straight in the shadow will check out a finish eclipse of the Sun. You deserve to show just how the shadow moves by gradually rotating the wire (Image 10).


Tip 15

Now produce a lunar eclipse: Stand also facing the torch and swing the wire so that the Moon is behind the Earth. No light must be hitting the Moon: the Earth is in between the Sun and also the Moon, casting a shadow over the whole Moon. Explain that unlike in the time of the solar eclipse, the entire "night" side of Planet have the right to check out the lunar eclipse (Image 11).


More Information

Follow-up questions

Ages 6–10

During a lunar eclipse:

Which bappropriate object is in shadow? Which object is spreading the shadow?Does everyone in the world see it? Who can’t view a lunar eclipse?

Throughout a solar eclipse:

Which bright object is covered up? Which object is blocking the sunlight?Does everyone in the world view it? Who can’t see a solar eclipse?Draw a picture mirroring the positions of the Moon, Earth and Sun in the time of a solar eclipse. (Use the version to help.)Do you see lunar eclipses at night or during the day? What about solar eclipses?Why are solar eclipses so much rarer than lunar eclipses?

Ages 10–14

Throughout a solar eclipse, what would you check out if you stood on the Moon and also looked at the Earth?What is the phase of the Moon in the time of a solar eclipse? Throughout a lunar eclipse?Why don’t we watch a lunar eclipse throughout eincredibly complete moon?Do other planets have actually eclipses?