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Inquiring-mind Science: How Far Is the Moon?

# Inquiring-mind Science: How Far Is the Moon?

Enroll on Outschool, or contact me to set up a course for you, a small group, or your school.

We will do the calculations to figure the moon’s distance from the earth, and learn the facts it depends on.

How big is our solar system? How far apart are the planets? How do we know?

You can figure it out!

Enroll on Outschool, or contact me to set up a course for you, a small group, or your school.

But first we need to know how far the moon is from earth. We will learn how scientists did that. It was possible only after scientists figured out how big the earth was. (My class How Big Is the Earth? is a prerequisite to this class.)

Scientists could then figure out how far the sun was from earth! Then figure out how far the other planets were from the sun!

You get started on that process in this class, where we will learn how scientists figured out how far the moon was from earth and do some of their calculations ourselves, and so learn a bit about how to do science ourselves. Time permitting, we will figure out the distance to the moon in two or three ways.

Without this knowledge, we are missing understanding of physics and the solar system: to understand an idea, we need to know where it comes from. Modern astronomy and knowledge of the solar system builds on this calculation.

We will do a combination of lecture, Q&A, and independent work.

Students need some knowledge of geometry: circles, polygons, circumference, arc measure, parallel lines, similar triangles. (Maybe external angles of a triangle, if we get to that.) But we will review these concepts in class.

Note: A prerequisite to this class is my class How Big Is the Earth?

Enroll on Outschool, or contact me to set up a course for you, a small group, or your school.