Forecasting the Moon in 2018

The British have a saying. Well, to be fair to the British, they have many sayings, but this one in particular is relevant to our discussion. Whenever something is titled or explained exactly how its supposed to be, people in Britain will say it “does exactly what it says on the tin”.’s Moon Phases 2018: A Calander of Moon Cycles and Cycle Names is quite literally that, an article that does exactly what you’d think it’d do from solely reading the title.


Written by Tim Sharp, this article details specific dates and on those dates, lists the certain phases the moon will experience over time. His dates and times are based in the Eastern US, but considering our close proximity to there as we are in the midwest, the times are quite close to what we’d observe on the same dates, just an hour ahead. Moreover, he helpfully lists what each of the phases are and how they will appear in the sky. In class, during our presentation and drawings on the board, we already learned what each of the individual phases were and what they looked like, but regardless his addition of definitions for each is appreciated. Not only are data tables and definitions given, there is also a handy little video at the top of the webpage detailing various facts about the lunar phases, the most touched upon being the misconception that Earth’s shadow on the moon is what causes phases. As we discussed briefly in class, this is not the case, as the phases appear as they are due to the various positions of the Earth, Sun, and Moon all in relation to each other at a given period. That is to say, we only see the parts of the moon that happen to be illuminated from our Earthly perspective at that given position.


As for what I’ve learned from this article, not that much, really. That is to say, nothing new that I hadn’t heard before, either in class or out of it. However, that is not to say it was a waste of time, in fact, I found it to be far from it. I found this story enjoyable and important as it served as a really simple refresher from what was done in class. Considering what we had originally done first occurred about a week ago (at the time of this blog post writing), the information discussed was not as fresh in my mind. This article helped retrieve that information and “revive” it, in a way, helping me come to a more solid and better understanding of how the moon changes phases and how they, in turn, appear here on Earth.




Super Blue Blood Moon

The article “Here Are Some Amazing Pictures Of The January 2018 Lunar Eclipse” written by Matt Williams talks about the “celestial event” that took place this year on January thirty-first. Williams explains some of the reasons for which this lunar eclipse we just had was so special. He goes on showing several pictures that were captured by different photographers.

Above are some of the pictures that Matt Williams includes in his article. As you can see in the first picture the moon is in a lunar eclipse totality and the rest of the pictures show the phases that the moon goes through during the eclipse.

Just like in class when we completed our diagram we were able to see the phases the moon goes through in a month, but with an eclipse it is only a matter of hours for the moon to go through several phases.


As you can see by the image of the diagram I completed in class you can see that when there is a full moon the moon is facing directly the sun and could possibly also align with the Earth. A lunar eclipse is where Earth’s shadow is on the moon and can only happen when there is a full moon. It happens because the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned as shown in the picture below.

lunar eclipse


The causes for the different moon phases we get on our night sky is because the moon orbits the Earth, which causes us to see the part that is illuminated by the Sun, but you have to understand that we always see the same side of the moon. So, in the case of a lunar eclipse the moon is a full moon because the whole moon is being illuminated, which means that the moon is directly on the opposite side of the sun, but in certain occasions the Earth gets between the two as shown in the picture above.

I have personally never seen a lunar eclipse so it was nice to see the pictures that were included in the article. This material about the moon has given me a better understanding about the phases and why we have eclipses.

Moon Phases and Eclipses

The third conceptual objective, I can explain the causes of moon phases and eclipses, has been highlighted in class over the last couple of weeks. In class, we discussed the causes of the moon phases and eclipses. We learned that the illumination of the moon is caused by the suns light. We also viewed the phases of the moon from a two-dimensional view on paper. Many other relations to this subject were emphasized in each class. We contrasted lunar and solar eclipses as well as viewing them in visual form to get a better understanding. The article I chose, “The Path Through the United States”, is a website exclusively dedicated to the total solar eclipse that will be able to be seen from North America, specifically the United States. This website closely relates to the conceptual objective 3. Upon entering the website, a noticeable countdown appears in the upper right corner, giving users a “heads up”. On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible to many of those along the totality line in the United States, weather permitting of course. Be aware, special eye protection is strongly advised when looking at the eclipse. Seeing this eclipse is important to a lot of people because this phenomenon will not occur for another seven years for this general area. The shadow is only projected to touch the United States for about an hour and a half. In class, we learned various things about solar eclipses. A solar eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the sun and its shadow is projected on Earth. For this to occur, the moon must be in the new moon phases. A total solar eclipse is when the moon blocks the entire light of the sun. On August 21, the day of the eclipse, those living in the Chicago land area will only be able to see a partial solar eclipse. This website was very informative and discusses everything you need to know about this well-anticipated upcoming phenomenon. The website is very comparable to what we exercised in class regarding eclipses. Learning something new is a lot easier when you can compare it to real live experiences. In August, my understanding of eclipses and moon phases will be concluded in the best way possible. This website has given me further insight on the third conceptual objective.

Christopher Stricker