Students at Granby Elementary School had the opportunity recently to see the phases of the moon without leaving their cafeteria.
Al Hunter, traveling scientist with OCM BOCES Science Center, brought a portable planetarium with him on a visit to the school. He presented a program on moon phases to fifth graders, who are studying the solar system in their classrooms.
Upon entering the large domed planetarium, students were immediately awed by the stars projected onto the walls all around them.
Fifth graders in Louise Ritchey’s class listened to the tale of The Girl Who Married the Moon, a story from Native American culture.
Hunter’s presentation on the lunar phases included a description of the moons full cycle, which lasts 29.5 days.
He showed students the difference between waning and waxing moons, and how to tell a gibbous moon from a full moon.
He also defined a harvest moon and blue moon. A harvest moon is a full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. A blue moon is a rare event in which there are two full moons in the same month. This is where the saying once in a blue moon comes from.
Hunter shared with students how the phases of the moon shape our daily lives. The lunar calendar is a calendar that is based on cycles of the lunar phase. There are about 12 complete lunar phases in a solar year, just as there are 12 months to our year.