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The

 Solar  System
AST  103  -­‐  Fall  2010
WCH  H107  -­‐  TR  2:00  p.m.

Lecture 03 - Lunar Phases & Eclipses


Summary
1. The Calendar

2. The Moon’s Phases


3. Lunar Eclipses
4. Solar Eclipses

5. Planetary Motion
The  Calendar
Some fundamental elements of our calendar
originate from the motion of the Earth and Moon.

It is possible to create a calendar by observing the


motion of the Sun, Moon and stars.

Astronomers often were timekeepers, responsible


for recording the passage of time.
The  Day

The 24 hour day


is caused by the
rotation of the
Earth on its axis.
The  Month

The Month is
based
approximately on
the time it takes
the Moon to
orbit the Earth
The  Year
The year is based approximately on the time it
takes the Earth to orbit the Sun.

Since one orbit does not take an exact number of


days, we need “leap years” to correct for
inaccuracies in our calendar.

Some clocks are so accurate now that we also


have more regular, small corrections to our
calendar, called “leap seconds”.
The  Moon’s  Phases
1
1.  First  Quarter

2.  Full  Moon

3.  Third  Quarter
2
4.  New  Moon
3

4
Third  Quarter

Crescent Gibbous
Waning

New Full

Waxing
Crescent Gibbous

Light from
the Sun First  Quarter
The  Moon’s  RotaMon  and  RevoluMon
Rota2on
The  spinning  of  an  object  about  
an  axis  that  passes  through  it.

Revolu2on
The  orbiMng  of  one  object  
around  another.

The rotation and revolution


period of the Moon are equal.
Sidereal Period
About
27.3 Days

Moon
Sun
Earth

Sidereal Period:
The amount of time required for one revolution
of an object with respect to the distant stars.
Synodic About
Period 29.5 Days

Moon
Sun
Earth
Synodic Period:
The time interval between successive similar
alignments of an object with respect to the Sun.
Lunar
Eclipses
Lunar Eclipse:
The Moon enters the Earth’s shadow

Penumbra

Umbra

Umbra: Full Shadow


Penumbra: Partial Shadow
Types of Lunar Eclipse
Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
The Moon passes through the Earth’s penumbra,
but not the umbra.
Total Lunar Eclipse
The Moon passes completely through the Earth’s
Umbra.
Partial Lunar Eclipse
Only part of the Moon passes through the Earth’s
Umbra.
Why does the Moon appear red during a lunar eclipse?

As sunlight passes through the Earth’s atmosphere,


blue light is scattered away more than red light - so
light reaching the Moon is mostly red.
Why isn’t there a Lunar eclipse every month?
Solar Eclipses
Solar Eclipse:
Light from the Sun is blocked by the Moon.

Earth

Moon
Penumbra
Umbra
Total Solar Eclipse:
The Moon completely
blocks the Solar
photosphere, revealing the
Solar corona.

Partial Solar Eclipse:


Only part of the Suns disk
is covered by the Moon.
Annular Eclipse

The Moon is too far from


the Earth for its disk to
completely cover the Sun.

The outer edge of the


Sun remains visible as a
ring or annulus.
Planetary Motion
Retrograde Motion
Apparent westward motion of planets in the sky.
The planets appear to gradually move eastwards
through the sky.

Retrograde motion is the apparent westward motion of


planets.

This motion is caused by the relative motion of the


Earth and the other planets.

Retrograde motion was a significant challenge to


explain for those who considered the Earth was the
center of the Solar System.