How to Take a Moon Observation


1. On a clear night/day when the moon is visible, find and face South. DO NOT use your phone or any car compass to try and find South. Use a map, compass, street signs, etc.

2. Stick your fist up 45 degrees facing South, then lower your arm down so that it is parallel to the ground. Line up one side of your fist directly South.

3. Find the moon.

4. Count how many fists it would take for the same side of your fist to line up with the Moon. Do this by moving your arm left (East) or right (West) until the side of your fist lines up with the moon.

5. Do this step 3-4 times, jotting down the number of fists each time. Then taking the average of your measurements.

6. For Step 4-5, you must record partial fists for your average, e.g., if you measure 3 times and find 3.2, 3.8, 3.6 fists east, record the average, 3.5 fists east. Only use one place after the decimal.

7. Write down the day, time, direction (East or West), and number of fists. Make sure to include sky conditions (cloudy, clear, day, night, raining, snowing etc.) and sketch the moon as well, shading the side that is dark and leaving the visible part white.

8. Congratulations! Just keep doing this throughout the semester.

9. Use your observations to calculate the other values in your lab book table and enter the results online. This is just math so you can head inside to finish up. The most important to get right are steps 1-8 because these cannot be redone.


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