Moon Phase Lamp

It is a lamp that shows you daily the phase of the moon projected.


Even though I want to continue working in this project for the final in December my challenge is to make the lamp move with the steeper motor in two different movements:

  • In 29 days, moving each day (24 hours) 1.25 inches. So each day it will show a different phase.
  • A slow but constant movement so it projects the moon cycle in movement.




1.25 inches each moon.


  • Acrylic or Cardboard
  • Steeper Motor.
  • Gear.
  • Light.
  • Switch (with 2 steps)

For the foot of the lamp I will test a base on acrilic, but I want to find a way that the user can move it to give direction to the projection.

Feedback from the play testing experience:

  • “the moon could have texture” (use a small projector for that).
  • “the light could go also to the ceiling, or different places”.
  • “it could have a rotate function, so the user can see the cycle in movement”.
  • “the moon could be program to be colored for certain specific days that the user consider specials, birthdays, christmas, anniversary,etc” .
  •  “It could have more interaction, sensors”.

Note: each feedback was very enriching for the project, I would not be able to do some of them now, but if I go ahead with the project I will.



The moon cycle is not equal all the time, so to do this really accurate It should be connected to an Api. I will not be able to do this for the final, but at least I want to research to be able to do it in the future.

“There moon cycle is around 28 days, but not exactly. The synodic period or lunation is exactly 29.5305882 days. It’s the time required for the moon to move to the same position (same phase) as seen by an observer on earth. If you were to view the moon cycling the earth from outside our solar system (the viewpoint of the stars), the time required is 27.3217 days, roughly two days less. This figure is called the sidereal period or orbital period.

Why is the synodic period different from the sidereal period? The short answer is because on earth, we are viewing the moon from a moving platform: during the moon cycle, the earth has moved approximately one month along its year-long orbit around the sun, altering our angle of view with respect to the moon, and thus altering the phase. The earth’s orbital direction is such that it lengthens the period for earthbound observers.

Although the synodic and sidereal periods are exact numbers, the moon phase can’t be precisely calculated by simple division of days because the moon’s motion (orbital speed and position) is affected and perturbed by various forces of different strengths. Hence, complex equations are used to determine the exact position and phase of the moon at any given point in time”.

& Eclipses

However, at special times during the year, the earth, moon, and sun do in fact “line up”. When the moon blocks the sun or a part of it, it’s called a solar eclipse, and it can only happen during the new moon phase. When the earth casts a shadow on the moon, it’s called a lunar eclipse, and can only happen during the full moon phase. Roughly 4 to 7 eclipses happen in any given year, but most of them minor or “partial” eclipses. Major lunar or solar eclipses are relatively uncommon.

Info from:

Here I could find some moon phases Api:

Moon Phases References





Other Moon Lamps & Projects

This project that shows the moon phases was done by ITPers few years ago

Making ‘Moon Phases’ tangible and poetic

This is a project done by kids:

kids work

Here another moon lamps as references.