If you have ever seen a picture of a solar eclipse, you may have noticed that the Moon comes very close to covering the entire Sun. However, the Sun is 400 times larger than the Moon! So how can these space objects appear like they are the same size, though the Sun is much bigger? This craft science experiment illustrates to a child that a smaller moon can cover a much bigger sun, depending on the distance each object is from each other. We are using a smaller moon and a larger sun from play dough to investigate how a much smaller moon can eclipse the large sun.
- play dough (we are using this amazing natural play dough set, made from wheat flour and colored with all-natural pigments, no chemicals added – buy here),
- recycled ice-pop sticks,
- silver pipe-cleaners for the moon,
- googly eyes.
Science mystery 💡revealed: objects that are farther away always look smaller, but a small object and a big object can look the same size if they are the right distances away from the observer. In fact, the Sun is about 400 times farther away from Earth than the Moon, but at a certain distance from each other, they look the same size.
The Sun and Moon have roughly the same angular diameter. In fact, sometimes the Moon appears slightly larger than the Sun and sometimes the Sun appears slightly larger than the Moon. This is because the Moon’s noncircular orbit around Earth sometimes brings it closer and sometimes farther away from Earth. It’s just a coincidence that the Sun and Moon appear to be the same size when viewed from Earth. If you were on another planet, its “moons” could have a very different angular size compared with our Sun! For more about the science behind the Solar Eclipse, read www.nasa.gov here.
For more on our 🌌COSMOS Unit Study, read here.