16 unexpected facts about our moon

| The Moon Facts Table |

Mass (1024 kg ): 


0.073

Volume (10km^3): 


21.97

Equatorial Diameter (km):


3475

Polar Diameter (km):


3472

Age of the Planet: 


4.5 billion years

Surface Temperature Range : 


(-233 °C ~ 123 °C)

Average Surface Temperature: 


-20 °C

Gravity (m/s2):


1.6

Day Length (hrs):


708

Average Distance from the Earth (106 km):


0.384

Closest Distance to the Earth (Perihelion) (106 km):


0.363

Furthest Distance from the Earth (Aphelion) (106 km):


0.406

Orbit Length: 


2.4 million km

Orbiting velocity (km/h):


3,600

Time to Orbit the Sun (Orbital Period): 


27.3 days

Actual Color: 


Dark grey

Appearance Color: 


Bright yellow to white

Atmosphere Thickness:


very thin atmosphere

Axial Tilt Angle (degrees):


6.68

Magnetic field:

Not exist

Ring system: 


Not exist
moon
Credit NASA

The Moon, the largest and brightest object that appears in the night sky, is the fifth largest moon in our solar system. The Moon had once been a part of the Earth before a planet that was about the size of Mars collided with Earth, dispersing chunks out into space that were eventually pulled together to form the Moon. It is the only place in the solar system that humans have set foot upon beyond Earth. Shockingly, scientists have reported that the Moon is gradually drifting away from Earth. Read on to discover more of the most interesting facts about the Moon.

1. Moon had once been a part of the Earth until a Mars-sized body collided with the Earth.

Scientists believe that the Moon is the result of a collision between Earth and a Mars-sized interstellar object. The collision produced chunks of Earth that were thrown into space and ultimately pulled together by gravity, thereby forming the Moon. [1]

2. The Moon is seismically active.

After the reexamination of Apollo data from the 1970s, a project conducted by professor Clive R. Neal at the University of Notre Dame, it was concluded that “the moon is seismically active.”

Scientists at NASA have identified four different kinds of moonquakes and a few explanations as to what causes them: 

  1. Deep moonquakes occur about 435 miles (700 km) below the surface of the Moon. It is assumed that deep moonquakes are caused by tides.
  2. Vibrations caused by the impact of meteorites.
  3. Thermal quakes caused by the expansion of the frigid crust.
  4. Shallow moonquakes that occur at depth of 13 – 19 miles (20 – 30 km) below the Moon’s surface.

3. Earth’s mass is about 80 times greater than the mass of the Moon.

The mass of Earth, which is 13.2 x1024 lbs (5.97 x1024 kg), is 80 times greater than the mass of the Moon, which is 0.16 x1024 lbs (0.073 x1024 kg).

4. The Moon is drifting away from Earth.

The Moon is slowly drifting away from Earth at an average rate of one inch each year.

5. The Moon has eight different phases.

Moon phases
Credit NASA

The Moon appears to change shape due to its position in relation to Earth. As it orbits around us, we are exposed to varying amounts of the portion of the Moon that is lit up by the Sun. For example, when the Moon is situated between Earth and the Sun, we are unable to see the side of the Moon that is illuminated. As a result, the Moon disappears from our view. As it continues its orbit around us, the Moon will appear to gradually become fuller, passing through what are known as “phases,” as we are exposed to the side of the Moon which reflects the Sun’s light. The Moon’s phases, also called “lunar phases,” are as follows:

  1. New
  2. Waxing crescent
  3. First quarter
  4. Waxing gibbous
  5. Full moon phase
  6. Waning gibbous
  7. Third quarter
  8. Waning crescent

6. We always see the same side of the Moon from Earth.

Only one side of the Moon faces Earth as the Moon rotates about its axis at the same rate that the Moon orbits Earth.

7. The rise and fall of the Earth’s tides are caused by the Moon.

8. If you weigh 220 lbs (100 kg) on Earth, you would weight 36 lbs (16.5 kg) on the Moon.

Weight is the measurement of how much force gravity exerts on an object. As gravity differs from planet to planet, the weight of an object is contingent upon the planet it is on.

The Moon’s gravity is 5.2 ft/s2 (1.6m/s2), which is 83.7% less than the gravity on Earth, which equals 32 ft/s(9.8 m/s2). Consequently, an object’s weight when measured on Earth would be 83.7% heavier than if it were to be measured on the Moon.

9. There is no dark side of the Moon. In fact, both sides receive the same amount of light.

Many people have the misconception that there is a dark side of the Moon that has forever existed beyond the reach of Sun in complete darkness. In actuality, the two sides of the moon experience the same amount of illumination; two weeks of sunlight, followed by two weeks of night. Because only one side of the Moon faces Earth, people call what is actually the far side of the Moon by the infamous title of the “dark side.”

10. The Moon is the fifth largest moon in the solar system.

Out of the 190+ moons orbiting the planets of our solar system, Earth’s moon, with a volume of 2.197 x 1010 km3, is the fifth largest.

11. During a supermoon, the Moon appears larger and brighter than usual.

Supermoon size
Credit: NASA

The Moon travels around Earth in an oval-shaped orbit, which means the Moon is closer to Earth during some stages of its orbit than during others. The point at which the Moon is closest point to Earth during its orbit is called perigee. When a new or full moon takes place at nearly the same time as perigee, we have what is called a supermoon. During this unique astronomical phenomenon, the Moon appears 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual.

12. When can I observe a supermoon?

The names and expected dates of the next supermoons are as follows:

 

  1.    February 9, 2020: Native American tribes called it Full Snow Moon because the heaviest snows usually fell during this time of the year.
  2.    March 9, 2020: Native American tribes called it Full Worm Moon because at this time of year the ground would begin to soften, and the earthworms would reappear.
  3.    April 8, 2020: Native American tribes called it Full Pink Moon because it marked the appearance of the moss pink or creeping phlox.
  4.    May 7, 2020: Native American tribes called it Full Flower Moon because it occurs during the time of year when spring flowers bloom in abundance.

13. There is no sound on the Moon.

In order for sound to exist, it needs a medium, where particles touch each other, to travel through. While the Moon is in the space where the particles are apart from each other, there is no sound on the Moon.

14. Twenty-four humans have traveled to the Moon so far, while twelve have walked on its surface.

15. July 20, 1969 marked the first time humankind set foot on the surface of the Moon.

On July 20, 1969, NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin historically became the first people to set foot on the surface of the Moon. During their short stay, they managed to collect hundreds of pounds of soil and rocks from the Moon to bring back with them when they returned to Earth.

16. The first spacecraft to successfully reach the Moon was Luna 1: a spacecraft produced by the Soviet Union in 1959.

Luna 1 spacecraft
Credit NASA

Luna 1 was manufactured and launched as part of the Soviet Luna program. It was a sphere-shaped spacecraft with the objective of measuring the temperature and pressure of the Moon. [2]

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