Label: Moon

April 10, 2014

Seymour Simon’s new book, EARTH’S MOON: A SHIPMATE’S GUIDE to OUR SOLAR SYSTEM, has just been published by StarWalk Kids Media. It is available as an eBook right now, and we hope to publish it as a print book in the next year.

The Moon is our closest shipmate in space, and as Seymour Simon writes in the book, we travel together on our journey through the Milky Way galaxy. This fascinating book answers questions like: Why does the Moon change shape in the night sky? Why does it look as though there is a face on the Moon’s surface? And will we ever visit there again?

This is the second installment in Seymour Simon’s important new space series, A Shipmate’s Guide to Our Solar System. The first book, EARTH: A SHIPMATE’S GUIDE came out last year, and received an excellent review from Kirkus.

You can view a video trailer of Seymour Simon’s newest book and find out how the Moon was formed - it was a dramatic event! 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, space, eBooks, space books, Video, Earth Science Books, moon, Space Travel   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 25, 2012

          You may have heard that an astronaut named Neil Armstrong died today. He was a hero to me and to many others – the man who took a “giant leap for mankind” when he first walked on the moon on July 20, 1969.

Neil Armstrong was a man of courage, and although he was a private person, he gracefully accepted his role for the rest of his life as the “face” of the space program and a symbol of man’s exploration of the solar system beyond our own planet.


This is a photograph of a footprint on the moon, left by our astronauts back in 1969. It marked the first time that human beings walked on ground that was not Earth. That footprint may last for a million years or longer, because there is no air on the moon. Without air there is no wind to blow the dust around.

The print of that first giant step for mankind will live forever on the moon, just as Neil Armstrong’s brave quest to explore and learn more will live forever in our memories.

When asked how they would like Neil Armstrong to be remembered, his wife and family said:

"For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."

I think we can do that, don’t you? 

 Read more about Neil Armstrong’s amazing journey and learn all about what it is like to be an astronaut in Seymour Simon’s SPACE TRAVELERS.



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(96) Comments  •   Labels: science news, space, moon, Space Travel   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 7, 2012















Did you see the full moon last night? The Native American Oto people call the April moon the "Little Frog Croak" moon, and I think that is a perfect name for this time of year.

Have you heard the "spring peepers" singing yet? If you are anywhere near a pond or wetlands on a warm spring night, you will hear their thousands of tiny calls. The male frogs have awoken from their winter hibernation and are looking for a mate near a pond where they can lay their eggs. Within a matter of weeks, we’ll start to see swimming tadpoles who will eventually develop legs and become full grown frogs.

The Oto people recognize this life cycle, with its call that signals the hope of spring to all of us, by naming the April moon after these tiny frogs. 


P.S. Have you noticed an extremely bright star in the sky these last few weeks? That is not a star - it is the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter. These are great days for skywatching!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Astronomy, moon, Earth Day 2012, Frogs, Sky Watching   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 11, 2011



There was a full eclipse of the moon yesterday. Those of you on the west coast of the U.S. got a rare treat, as the lunar eclipse happened just at sunrise. Photographer John Harrison took this magnificent shot of the red moon above San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in the blue morning sky.



These images are from Asia, where photographer Humza Mehbub shot a series of images of the lunar eclipse from Lahore, Pakistan. He started photographing Earth’s shadow slipping across the moon at 5:30 p.m., and continued photographing until 7:30 p.m. in Lahore, when the eclipse hit its peak and the moon glowed a deep orange.

I wasn’t able to see it because I live on the Atlantic coast, where it happened during the daytime and was not visible here. Did any of you photograph the eclipse? If you did, send in your photos - I’d love to see!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, moon, Eclipse   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 9, 2011

  Did you notice a very bright, silvery "star" just to the left of the moon last night? You were looking at Jupiter. This gas giant, the largest planet in our solar system, appears to be larger and brighter in the sky than it has since 1999 (last century!), and it won’t look this big and bright again until 2023.


It will be an equally spectacular sight all night tonight, with Jupiter on the right side of the moon. If you have binoculars, you will also be able see Jupiter’s four moons (Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa).

We will continue to be able to observe Jupiter all the way until April, although its light will gradually become fainter and it will be visible for a shorter time each night. Then, its orbit will carry it into the glare of the sun, and it will be awhile before we can spot Jupiter again from Earth.

I love standing out in the fresh air, tilting my head back and looking at the stars….don’t you? 

This sky map shows how Jupiter and the moon appeared in the night sky on Nov. 8, 2011. 

CREDIT: Starry Night Software  

 Read more about the largest planet in our Solar System in Seymour Simon’s DESTINATION: JUPITER.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: space, Astronomy, space books, moon, Jupiter, Sky Watching   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 12, 2011

Just after school started, I received a question from a fifth grade study group asking me: "Is the moon just a big rock?" Of course, that is exactly what the moon is, but being a former teacher, I never give a simple answer like that. Instead, I asked them if they would please do some research and write back to me with interesting information that they learned about the moon.

Well, they did a great job! I received this email from Angela, Diana, Martin and Andres, who are a science study group in Mrs. Williamson’s Fifth Grade class at Wolf Canyon Elementary School, in California.

Dear Seymour Simon:

Our science group found two great, interesting facts about the moon.

1)    The moon is the fifth largest satellite in the solar system.

2)     It is thought to be formed some 4.5 million years ago.

Thank you for your great science books!

Good work by Mrs. Williamson’s science group! They did their homework and found some very interesting facts about the moon.


Soon, we are going to learn all sorts of new information about the moon. On Saturday, NASA launched a new moon research mission called GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory). We are not sending human beings this time - there won’t be any new footprints on the moon - but we are using advanced photography techniques to learn much more about how the moon was formed. And in particular, we are going to get a much clearer look at the "dark side of the moon," which faces away from our planet Earth.


GRAIL consists of two satellites, which will separate from the rocket that is carrying them into space and become lunar orbiters (satellites that orbit around the moon). They will photograph the surface of the moon as they pass over it, and scientists will be able to accurately measure various formations and moonscapes based on how far apart the satellites are. The project will study how the moon was formed, what its interior consists of, and why the side seen from Earth looks so different from the lighter-colored "far side." We know that the far side is covered with hardened rock from lava flows, but there is much more we can learn.

Most exciting to me is that for the first time, NASA has put a camera onboard that is strictly for classroom use. Called the MoonKAM, teachers can register their classes and middle-school students can request photography of lunar targets for classroom study. Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, is heaing up the project. Imagine, allowing students to take their own pictures, so that they can study the surface of the moon. I wish that opportunity had happened when I was a middle school science teacher!

 Photos: NASA


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Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, space, Kids Write, space books, moon, Exploration   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 21, 2010

Nothing like setting your alarm for 3:10 am, only to discover that the skies were too overcast to see last night’s full lunar eclipse. We heard this from friends right across the U.S., unfortunately.

The good news is that NASA’s  Jet Propulsion Laboratory has posted hundreds of great photos - click here if you’d like to see more (SeeMore - get it? haha). 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Astronomy, Cool Photo, moon, Eclipse, Solstice   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 20, 2010


We have nearly reached the longest night of the year here in the northern hemisphere. Tomorrow night, December 21 (or December 22 in some years), known as the "winter solstice," is also the day we consider to be the official beginning of winter. Solstice means "the sun stands still," and the winter solstice is the day when the midday sun is at its lowest point above the horizon. It seems to hover there, never rising very high in the sky, and then sets again - hence the idea that the sun is "standing still."  This happens because Earth is tilted on its axis in such a way that the northern hemisphere is pointing farther away from the sun than at any other time of the year.

This year’s "longest night" will be an even darker night than usual during a full moon (at least for some hours), because the arrival of the winter solstice coincides with a full eclipse of the moon in the early hours of December 21 (late tonight). And this lunar eclipse is going to be a beauty - visible to everyone in Northern and Central America (if the skies are clear and the weather cooperates).

Do you know what happens during a lunar eclipse?

Think about it. We see the full moon shining brightly in the sky because it is illuminated by the sun. What we call "moonlight" is really just sunlight reflected back at us from the moon. So, what would cause the full moon to suddenly go dark?

It could only happen if the sunlight were cut off.

And what could possible block sunlight from reaching Earth’s moon? That’s right, our planet EARTH itself! A lunar eclipse happens when the Sun, Earth and the Moon are all in a straight line, so that for a little over an hour, the moon is completely in the darkness of earth’s shadow.


It will not completely disappear - instead, it becomes

a deep, deep orange color. It takes 3 to 4 hours to

see the whole event from when the first shadow starts

to creep across the moon’s surface until it is fully

obscured, and then the shadow gradually recedes,

eventually leaving the full moon glowing in the sky again.



Here are the times, if you decide to stay up (or go to bed and then get up in the middle of the night) to see it.

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: science news, moon, Winter, Eclipse, Solstice   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 26, 2010

As the morning light dawned over Capitol Hill here in Seattle, the full moon was still bright in the sky. What a sight!


Ever wonder what happens to make the moon seem "full"? The moon travels once around the Earth every 29.5 days and though the moon seems to shine in the night sky, it is actually being illuminated from varying angles by the sun. A full moon occurs when the moon is 180° away from the sun, so that sun, Earth and moon form a line. At that point the moon is completely illuminated.


                                    (Diagram courtesy of Minesweeper and Wikipedia)

According to (an excellent source of information about the night sky), July’s full moon is often called the "Hay Moon" - no surprise to anyone living on a farm who has spent recent weeks cutting, baling and stowing hay for the winter.

The native peoples of northeastern North America didn’t grow hay, so they named this moon after male deer - the Bucks Moon. Others call this the thunder moon, because this is the time of year when sudden thunderstorms often occur on hot summer afternoons.

The moon was at its fullest last night at 9:36 p.m. EDT (0136 GMT), and at least here in the clear skies of Seattle, it was a sight to behold.



Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Solar System, moon   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 31, 2010

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I was looking at the moon two nights ago when I decided that I might be able to take a photo of the moon with my new digital camera that has a magnification of about ten times. This is a hand-held photo and I’m just amazed at how clear it is. Why don’t you try to take a photo of the moon yourself with a digital camera? It would be best if you can to increase the ASA speed to 800 or more (ask someone to help if you don’t know how to do this). Also prop the camera on something solid and hold it as steadily as you can. You may have to do a bit of editing to crop the moon to fill the whole frame but it’s easier than you think. In fact, here’s a contest: Best shot of the moon that I get by the end of April gets a brand new signed copy of my book THE MOON. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, Seymour Photographs, moon   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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