National Informal STEM Education Network: Exploring the Solar System - Big Sun, Small Moon

In this Short Activity, learners explore the concept of the apparent size by looking at models of celestial bodies at different distances.

Exploring the Solar System: Big Sun, Small Moon” is a hands-on activity that explores the concept of apparent size and allows visitors to experience this phenomena using familiar objects—a tennis ball and a beach ball. Participants learn that the Sun and Moon appear the same size in our sky because although the Sun is much bigger than the Moon, it is also much farther away.


A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon blocks the light of the Sun from hitting Earth. The Sun is much larger than the Moon, but because the Sun is so much farther away, the Moon is able to fully block it during an eclipse.

Science Topics
K-6, Educator
1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade
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