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Others Like “Why Does the Moon Appear Larger at Some Times?”

Science Fair Project Idea
Let's suppose you can take advantage of the Internet and get a 'pen pal' located a 1000 miles away in another city. On the same night, and at EXACTLY the same time 'Universal Time', make a CAREFUL observation of where the Moon is located with respect to the background stars. You should be able to discern a slight (about 1/2 the Moon's diameter) shift in position due to parallax. Then, with a little geometry, you could estimate the distance of the Moon during the full lunar cycle (Odenwald,… Read more
Astro_p028
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Science Fair Project Idea
Here's an astronomy project idea from Dr. James Pierce, a professor in the Astronomy Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato: "Determine the length of twilight at different times of the year by observing the time at which certain bright stars first appear and comparing with the sunset time. Beware of variations due to stars appearing at different altitudes. Try using Polaris as a standard. Also note the time at which automatic streetlights turn on. Determine how soon after sunset stars… Read more
Astro_p024
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever noticed how the moon appears bigger at the horizon, just as it is rising over the treetops, than it does later in the evening when it is overhead? Of course, the size of the moon does not change, but our perception of its size changes based on where it is in the sky. In this human biology science fair project, you will investigate Emmert's law, which explains the full moon illusion. You will estimate the size of the perceived increase in the size of the moon at the horizon. Read more
HumBio_p023
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You will need access to an outside area with a clear view of the horizon and the zenith.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
You can measure the diameter of the Sun (and Moon) with a pinhole and a ruler! All you need to know is some simple geometry and the average distance between the Earth and Sun (or Moon). An easy way to make a pinhole is to cut a square hole (2–3 cm across) in the center of a piece of cardboard. Carefully tape a piece of aluminum foil flat over the hole. Use a sharp pin or needle to poke a tiny hole in the center of the foil. Use the pinhole to project an image of the Sun onto a wall or piece… Read more
Astro_p026
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
Get good photographs of the Moon showing lots of craters and count how many craters you find in a range of diameter classes. One useful source is the (Kuiper et al, 2006). Make a histogram that shows the distribution of diameters. Most of these craters were formed during the first billion years of the Moon's formation, but you should confirm that this is true for the the Moon areas you've selected in your photographs by doing background research. Is cratering uniform across the surface of the… Read more
Astro_p029
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
Use your Internet sleuthing skills to learn about solar system objects. Create a table of measurements of moons and asteroids in order to determine if there is a size threshold for roundness. A good source of information would be an online guide such as (Arnett, W.A., 2006). You'll find information about planetary satellites, including dimensions and accompanying pictures. From the pictures, classify the satellites and asteroids according to how round they are. Can you think of a way to… Read more
Astro_p025
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
You can measure the viscosity of a fluid using a glass tube and a marble with slightly smaller diameter than the tube. Seal one end of the tube. Fill the tube with the fluid to be tested. Drop the marble into to the tube and measure the time it takes to fall a fixed distance. Repeat the measurement several times, and use the average value. How does viscosity change with the amount of sugar dissolved in water? How does viscosity change with temperature? Read more
Aero_p032
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
For an advanced science fair project, you can build your own telescope and learn how to use it to make observations of the night sky. Can you make your own observations to determine the orbital period of Jupiter's major moons? Complete instructions for building a Dobsonian telescope are available here: . Read more
Astro_p031
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Science Fair Project Idea
Make a pinhole projector (see ). Use the pinhole to project an image of the Sun onto a wall or a piece of paper. Do you notice any dark spots on the projected image? Trace the projected image and count the dark spots. Use your pinhole projector to make images of the Sun at the same time of day for several consecutive days. How does the pattern of spots change? Can you use your data to figure out how fast the Sun rotates? Sunspot activity rises and falls with an 11-year cycle. At this… Read more
Astro_p027
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
What variables contribute to the properties of the soil in an area? Investigate the role of climate, weather, topography, time, parent material, vegetation, and biological and chemical agents on soil formation. How are soils characterized? There are 3 basic particle sizes which create three basic soil types: sand, silt, and clay. Investigate the properties of the three different types of soil by observing grain size, shape, hardness, color, chemical composition, pore space, aeration,… Read more
Geo_p034
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
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