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Standing in the Shadow of Earth

Source Institutions

    Astronomical Society of the Pacific
  • NASA

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Standing in the Shadow of Earth

This fun and simple hands-on astronomy activity demonstrates the shadow of the Earth as it rises as a dark blue shadow above the eastern horizon. Shadows are not just what we see on the sidewalk, they are 3-dimensional. Learners will compare the shadow that an Earth globe casts with what they observe in the evening sky at sunset. The PDF contains step-by-step instructions, photos, presentation tips, and links to background information. The activity needs to be done on a clear evening with a view of the Eastern horizon.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Earth globe
  • flashlight


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Earth, Moon and Sun
    • Earth, Moon and Sun
      • Days
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
      • Sunlight and Color

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, ©2008


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