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Exploring the Solar System: Big Sun, Small Moon

Source Institutions

    NISE Network

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Exploring the Solar System: Big Sun, Small Moon

“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.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Tennis ball
  • Beach ball
  • Pump
  • Solar Eclipse poster
  • Activity and facilitator guides


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Size and Scale
    • Earth, Moon and Sun
      • Eclipses
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
      • The Moon


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection:

  • NISE Network


Funding Source:

  • NASA, NNX16AC67A


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