Solar Eclipse Model Project

Follow our DIY overview and also make a simple model demonstrating just how a solar and also lunar eclipse works for a fun children"s college science job.

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Here on Planet, as soon as the Sun shines on a things, it casts a shadow. But those shadows aren’t restricted to the terrestrial surface: the Moon and also Planet actors shadows right into space also, and as the 2 bodies communicate with those shadows, it creates lunar and solar eclipses.

We’re going to display you how to usage simple family items to make a design and that deserve to be provided to teach youngsters and also young astronomers just how a solar or a lunar eclipse works.

For even more children’s astronomy tasks, check out our guides on just how to make a stomp rocket launcher, just how to make a Solar System mobile and just how to make a model comet.


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Our model have the right to also be used to demonstrate a lunar eclipse. Credit: Mary McIntyre.
This is a fun scientific research project and, what’s even more, the same version have the right to be supplied to demonstrate how solar eclipses job-related and additionally exactly how lunar eclipses occupational.

But in situation you have actually a particularly inquisitive child and want to prepare for a barrage of concerns in development, first, a little eclipse science.

What reasons a lunar eclipse?


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A lunar eclipse occurs once the Moon passes right into Earth’s shadow. This can only occur in the time of a full Moon, once the Moon is on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun.

Tbelow are 2 components to Earth’s shadow; the darker umbra and also a slightly brighter penumbra.

If the Moon passes completely right into the umbral shadow, a total lunar eclipse occurs and also the Moon will certainly rotate a reddish brown colour.

Because Earth’s shadow is so astronomical, a complete lunar eclipse takes location over a number of hours. If the Moon only passes component means right into the shadow we obtain a partial lunar eclipse.

For more info, check out our overview What is a lunar eclipse?

What reasons a solar eclipse?


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The Solar corona in the time of the August 21, 2017 complete solar eclipse, by Alex Conu.
A solar eclipse occurs once the Moon passes between the Sun and also Earth. This have the right to just take place throughout a brand-new Moon (for even more on this, check out our overview to the phases of the Moon).

The Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun, yet the Sun is 400 times better away, so throughout totality the Moon perfectly covers the Sun.

This allows us to check out the Sun’s corona, which is also faint to observe at any kind of various other time.


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A composite images reflecting the stages of a solar eclipse. Photo by Vishal Bhatnagar/NurPhotograph using Getty Images)
As the Moon passes in front of the Sun, it casts a small shadow that races throughout Earth’s surchallenge at between 1,600 and also 8,000 kilometres per hour.

The Moon’s shadow is also comprised of an umbra and penumbra. If you are in the course of the umbral shadow you will endure totality, yet this just lasts for a pair of minutes.

For even more info, check out our guide What is a solar eclipse?

Why don’t eclipses happen even more often?


Total lunar eclipse, 28 September 2015, by William Doyen, Brittany kind of, France.
Eclipses don’t occur every month bereason the Moon’s orlittle bit is tilted.

See more: Zareba 6V Solar Battery Charger, How Does A 6 Volt Battery Work

From any kind of certain location full lunar eclipses are visible about every 2.5 years. The next one from the UK is on 16 May 2022.

Partial lunar eclipses are even more constant and also the next one is on 19 November 2021. Total solar eclipses, but, are a lot rarer.

The following one visible from the UK isn’t till 23 September 2090, yet we do gain to view a partial solar eclipse on 10 June 2021.

For more details, uncover out once and also where the next eclipse will certainly message location.

Creating an eclipse model


Above: The Moon’s tiny dimensions indicates a solar eclipse is just visible in particular components of the earth. Below: During a lunar eclipse the Earth blots out the light that would illuminate the Moon. Credit: Michael Moltenbrey
Since eclipses can’t be perceived in perchild that often, it is beneficial to have a design that you have the right to use to show how they work-related.

The design additionally allows us to acquire the larger view of exactly how eclipses look from space, rather than simply from Earth’s surconfront.

This model is easy to make and also is a fun household task. It deserve to be supplied to demonstrate both lunar and also solar eclipses, and it reflects the umbral and penumbral shadows in both cases.

One thing to note is that although the relative dimension of Planet and also Moon in our version is around correct, the ranges are not to scale.

If they were, the Moon would certainly must be 2.6m from Earth, and also the lamp supplied as the Sun would should be 1.02kilometres amethod and also have a diameter of 9.5m.

All rather impractical at house, so we’ve gone for a judicious size, which will certainly still show the theory well.

Tools & materials for your eclipse model

A wooden barbecue skewer, the one we provided had a 4mm diameter.Two white polystyrene balls, one via an approximate diameter of 7.5cm and also among 2.5cm.
A small elastic band; a 25cm-length of craft wire – we supplied 18 gauge, which is about 1mm diameter. The wire needs to be basic to bend yet sturdy enough to take the weight of the smaller sized sphere.A tiny yet sturdy box to act as a base (eg 7cm x 8.5cm x 4cm); design paints for Planet and a babsence marker pen for the skewer and base.An angle-poise lamp through a bendable head so you can suggest the light directly at the version.

How to create your eclipse model


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Step 1


Trim the barbecue skewer to 19cm, then paint it black through paint or long-term marker. This will be the support for the larger sphere – Earth in the design. It will should be sturdy as it will certainly additionally need to assistance the added arm for the Moon.


Tip 2


Push the pointed end of the skewer into the larger round then paint it to look prefer Planet making use of water-based paint. This is excellent opportunity for a location leschild, but it is up to you just how accurately you desire to paint the features!


Tip 3


To form the arm for the Moon, tightly wind one finish of the wire six times roughly somepoint slightly bigger than the skewer. Slide it onto the skewer and make certain it rotates freely. Place a tiny elastic band 4cm below the Planet sphere to hold the arm in location.


Step 4


Gently angle the remaining wire upwards; then put a bend 1cm from the various other finish of the wire so it is pointing right up, and press the smaller sized Moon sphere onto it. Make sure the Moon is in line with Earth via a 5cm gap between them.


Tip 5


Make a hole around the very same dimension as the diameter of the skewer in the centre of package lid and also push the skewer right into it. Next off, put a blob of Blu Tack inside the box to assist to store the skewer in location. We painted the box babsence for a nice complete.


Tip 6


Place a lamp 25cm from the design. Move the Moon in front of Planet (right) to watch the lunar umbral and also penumbral shadow, simulating a solar eclipse. Move it behind Earth (left) to see Earth’s umbral and penumbral shadow actors on the Moon, a lunar eclipse.


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Mary McIntyre is an outreach astronomer and also astro imager based in Oxfordshire.