Explore! Marvel Moon

Moon Over My Town


Community members of all ages are invited to contribute photographs — taken with cell phones, film cameras, or more sophisticated equipment — of the Moon. The images are collected over the course of a month or more and posted in chronological order. The collection forms a library display featuring the Moon's changing appearance in your local sky over the course of a month or more. This community engagement activity can be offered before, during, or after offering Explore! Marvel Moon programs at your site.

What's the Point?

  • The Moon's appearance in the sky changes over the course of a month.
  • The Moon can be visible in the day or at night.
  • Documented observations and teamwork are important components of scientific investigation.


Facility needs:

  • An email address that can receive Moon images and / or a location, perhaps at the reference desk, where patrons can turn them in at the library
  • Wall space — or a website such as www.flickr.com or http://en.linoit.com/— for displaying the submissions
  • Optional: a template for printing the submissions

For the community:

  • Calendar of Moon phases and rise and set times, such as one printed from www.sunrisesunset.com
  • Books about the moon
  • Note cards
  • Comment box
  • Pencils or pens

For the facilitator:


  • Determine when you want to conduct this activity; ideally, it can be undertaken before or during the Explore! Marvel Moon program.
  • Decide what email address or drop-off location you would like to provide to the community.
  • Distribute an invitation to the community describing the activity and timeframe. Include language restricting the submissions to content that is appropriate for a general audience. Note that credit will be acknowledged by including the contributor's first name, when provided, but that no personal identifiers would be included in the public display.
  • Provide community wall space or a public website for posting the submissions. Set out the note cards, comment box, and pencils or pens nearby and invite feedback.
  • Provide access to a variety of books about the Moon, such as those listed in the "resources" section. Consider also offering Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown or Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes and encouraging the children to read these to younger siblings at home. Invite the whole family to observe the moon and take a picture of it.


1. Invite the community to email or submit their photographs of the Moon to the library's email address or drop-off location. Ask them to include the date and time that the photograph was taken. Provide resources for community members to view the Moon, including a calendar of the Moon phases and rise and set times. (Newspapers often include this information for the current day.)

2. Collect submissions over the course of at least one month and organize them chronologically in a public display. If desired, place each photograph in the template along with the date and time taken, the contributor's first name, and any comments. Print the submissions and post them in a community space, or include them in a public website. Display the images in order of the time and date taken.

3. Send your best submissions to [email protected] for inclusion on the Lunar and Planetary Institute's Flickr group!


Conclude the community observations with a celebration of the Moon! Feature the display of submissions. Collect feedback about the experience through comment cards and informal conversations with patrons. Use the image display during your Explore! Marvel Moon children's and family programs.

  • What did the community document? Lunar phases.
  • How does the Moon's appearance change throughout the display? Its shape appears to change over the course of about a month as it goes through phases.
  • Does the community feel any differently now about the Moon than they did at the start of the program? Answers will vary.
  • Would they like to learn more about the Moon and its relationship to Earth? Answers will vary.

Celebrate the Moon by launching or continuing the Explore! Marvel Moon children's activities, or conclude the module with this celebration. Invite the community to continue to observe the Moon in the future.

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