Jump to main content

How Far Away Is the Moon?

500 reviews


Areas of Science
Time Required
Long (2-4 weeks)
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.


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, 1997). For another method of measuring the distance to the Moon, see Why Does the Moon Appear Larger at Some Times?


Odenwald, S., 1997. "Questions and Answers." Ask the Astronomer, Astronomy Cafe website. Retrieved March 6, 2018, from http://www.astronomycafe.net/qadir/q2077.html.
icon scientific method

Ask an Expert

Do you have specific questions about your science project? Our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.


If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:

Career Profile
Mathematicians are part of an ancient tradition of searching for patterns, conjecturing, and figuring out truths based on rigorous deduction. Some mathematicians focus on purely theoretical problems, with no obvious or immediate applications, except to advance our understanding of mathematics, while others focus on applied mathematics, where they try to solve problems in economics, business, science, physics, or engineering. Read more
Career Profile
Astronomers think big! They want to understand the entire universe—the nature of the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, galaxies, and everything in between. An astronomer's work can be pure science—gathering and analyzing data from instruments and creating theories about the nature of cosmic objects—or the work can be applied to practical problems in space flight and navigation, or satellite communications. Read more

News Feed on This Topic

, ,

Cite This Page

General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "How Far Away Is the Moon?" Science Buddies, 23 Mar. 2018, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Astro_p028/astronomy/how-far-away-is-the-moon. Accessed 21 Sep. 2023.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2018, March 23). How Far Away Is the Moon? Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Astro_p028/astronomy/how-far-away-is-the-moon

Last edit date: 2018-03-23
Free science fair projects.