Eclipse Science: Modeling Eclipses in the Solar System
This interdisciplinary AAPT lesson blends physics, geometry, and astronomy as students build and use a physical model to explore eclipse events as seen from Earth. Learners use the model to show how the Earth and Moon are on different ecliptic planes (the reason why we don't have solar and lunar eclipses every month). They configure the model to mimic the perfect Earth/Moon alignment that takes place during a "total solar eclipse" and sketch how the eclipse would look from the reference frame of viewers on Earth at points near the umbra (center) and outside the umbra.

This lesson was inspired by an article in The Physics Teacher magazine, "Using the Solar Eclipse to Estimate Earth's Distance from the Moon", by Mikolai Sawicki.

This work is a modification on the resource developed by AAPT and Temple University, project funded by the NASA Heliophysics Education Consortium (HEC) to support learning about space science in college-level physics and astronomy courses.
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