Analysis and Conclusions:
1. Mrs. Whalen observed the moon each night at about the same time 20:00hr (8:00 pm). Referring to your graph, what should she have noticed about the position of the moon during each observation?
Each evening at 8 pm Mrs. Whalen should have noticed that the moon was in a position more towards the east than the night before. From October 26th to 29th it moved higher was higher in the sky at 8pm each night, but after than it was lower each night at 8pm until it disappeared altogether on Nov. 5th. The moon did not reappear until Nov. 19th when it was much farther west at 8pm then it had been before. Then once again it was higher in the sky each night, and was farther eastwards until Nov. 27th. After that date it was lower in the sky, but still moving eastwards.
2. What might you conclude about the time of moonrise from night to night?
The moon was either rising in the west a little earlier every night; or rose in the east a little later every night. You need more information to know which direction the moon is apparently moving through the sky.
3. There were full moons on both November 1, 2001 and November 30, 2001. Do you notice any relationship between the moonís appearance in the sky and its altitude and azimuth at that particular time.
Both full moons are at the same azimuth at 8pm, but not at the same altitudes. However their location on the lunar cycle appears to be the same.
4. How would you test whether there is a relationship between the phase of the moon, its altitude and azimuth in the sky, and the time of day?
You currently do not have enough information, or cycles to tell you whether there is a connection between the phase of the moon, its altitude and azimuth, and the time of day. More testing is required. From this data, you donít even know if the moon is rising in the west or the east. You need to observe the moon at two different times on the same day. Preferably more than once, so you can see the apparent motion in a given day.
The moon actually rises in the eastern part of the sky and sets in the western, like the sun. Its exact position depends upon the time of the year. But its time of rising varies in a manner different from the sun. If the moon rises at 8PM one night, the next night it will rise at about 8:50 PM, the next about 9:40 PM, and so on; for one lunar month (50 minutes x 28 days = 1400 minutes = 24 hours) after which it will rise at 8 PM again. The moon rises 50 minutes later each night. So it can rise any time of the day or night.
The moon also appears to change shape. These are the phases of the moon. These phases are linked to its relative position to the sun. As you noticed, a specific phase is linked to a specific time the moon rises (thus its azimuth at a given time of day). If the moon is full, it rises at sunset; if it is at first quarter, it rises at noon; if it is new moon, it rises at sunrise.
The path the moon takes across the sky depends on both the time of year, and its phase. The new moon is low in the winter sky and high in the summer sky; the full moon is the opposite. It is high in the winter sky, and low in the summer sky. Full moonlight appears brighter in the winter than in the summer because the full moon is higher in the sky.
The length of time the moon is up depends on where it rises. The further north you are, the moon seems lower; move towards the equator, and the moon seems higher in the sky. Just like the sun.