Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Astronomy: Trigonometry and the Moon

Duration: 90 minutes

Learners work like real astronomers in this mini Project Based Learning (PBL) exercise by planning, observing, collecting data and working mathematically to calculate the size of lunar craters. Using a lunar target map made for the specific date of the program, learners select and submit a list of unidentified craters they wish to measure ahead of their visit to Sydney Observatory. On the night, video imaging of the Moon through our telescopes or pre-recorded in case of cloud provides basic data that when used with simple trigonometric ratios enables learners to calculate the size of their selected craters. When the known sizes are revealed, learners can consider possible sources of errors – all from around 380,000 kilometres away!

Please note: Best suited for 1-2 days either side of the first quarter Moon but for alternative session times, please make a note in your booking request form.


School incursion: $600

Observatory visit: $15 per learner

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Plan Your Experience

All the information you need to plan your visit is available on the Sydney Observatory venue page, including:

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Learning Resources

Curriculum Links

NSW Incorporating Australian Curriculum

Link Description
MA5.1-10MGapplies trigonometry, given diagrams, to solve problems, including problems involving angles of elevation and depression
SC5-WSproduces a plan to investigate identified questions, hypotheses or problems, individually and collaboratively
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