We are so excited about the lunar eclipse that will be occurring on January 20/21st this month! Half of the world will experience this eclipse, and for the first time in 19 years, this includes both North and South America. If you’ve been tracking this event, you’ve likely heard to it referred to as “The Super Blood Moon Eclipse”. So what makes this eclipse so special?
What is a Lunar Eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow. There are three types of lunar eclipses: total, partial and penumbra. The most dramatic being a total lunar eclipse, which is where Earth’s shadow completely covers the moon.
What Makes This Super Moon Eclipse Special?
There will be 87 lunar eclipses throughout the 21st century, but only 26 will occur during a super moon. A moon is considered a “super moon” when a full moon or new moon is at it’s closest point to Earth. At this point, the moon appears 30% brighter and 14% bigger that a regular full moon.
Why Will the Moon Appear Red?
When the Sun, Earth and moon line up so that the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow, the moon appears a muddy red color due to sunlight scattered through the Earth’s atmosphere. When this occurs, it is referred to as a “blood moon”.
Oreo Moon Phase Matching Activity
To explore the conditions that create a lunar eclipse, we decided to take a look at the moon phases. We know that a lunar eclipse occurs at a “full moon” or “new moon”, but what does that look like or mean?
For this project you just need 8 Oreos, a knife and the free printable I created. Click here for the printable!
Carefully separate all of the cookies so that the white cream remains on one of the chocolate cookie halves. Using your knife, trim the cream circles to match the various moon phases depicted on the printable.
The 8 moon phases are:
new moon -> waxing crescent -> first quarter -> waxing gibbous -> full moon -> waning gibbous -> last quarter -> waning crescent
We do not see the new moon on Earth, while the full moon is where the moon can be seen in its entirety.
After you have created all of your cookie moon phases, place them on a plate next to the printable. Allow them to match the cookie moons to their correct spot on the moon phase printable.
Once all of the cookie moons have been matched, chat about the various phases. Talk about how different degrees of sunlight affect the way the moon appears to us. Afterwards, feel free to enjoy an afternoon moon cookie snack!
This is an activity that even the littlest children will adore (mainly because of the cookies!). Not only does it introduce a more complex topic and event, it’s also a great way to work on matching skills. We hope that you get a chance the night of January 20th that you can enjoy this lunar eclipse!
Save it for later!