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Race the Moon

What You Need:

• A clear night with a bright moon
• Two friends
• A large yard or park

Question: Why does the moon seem to stay in one place no matter how fast or far you go?

1) The next time you are on a car trip at night, look up and watch the moon. It seems like the moon is right alongside you. No matter if the car goes fast or slowly. No matter if you drive ten miles or a hundred.

2) You and two friends can explore why this happens on a smaller scale in a large yard or park.

3) First, have the two friends stand in a straight line as far apart as possible.

4) Then stand about 10 feet away from the friend who is nearer to you.

5) Walk at a right angle away from your friends. Keep your head turned toward your friends so you can see them.

6) You will soon observe that the nearer friend goes out of your sight while the distant friend remains in sight.

A Scientific Explanation:

The moon is such a great distance away (239,000 miles), that it is like your distant friend--it stays in your sight. You’d have to travel to the other side of the Earth to lose sight of the moon!


Try this with the stars or the sun. Remember not to look directly at the sun because doing so can damage your eyesight.