The Moon is the only natural satellite of the Earth. Scientists believe the Moon was created 4.5 billion years ago when a large object hit the Earth and blasted out rocks that came together to orbit round the Earth. They eventually melted together, cooled down and became the Moon.
The Moon has a diameter of 3,476 kilometers and is an average distance of 384,400 kilometers from the Earth – that’s 1.3 light seconds. It takes 27.322 days to complete one orbit around the Earth, and its mass is 1.23% of the Earth’s mass. The Moon’s gravity is one-sixth that of the Earth’s; a man who weighs 180 lbf (pound-force) on Earth weighs only 30 lbf on the Moon.
The Moon has a small iron-rich core, but is composed mostly of rock. There are two primary types of terrain on the Moon: the heavily cratered and very old “highlands” and the relatively smooth and younger “maria.” The maria are the large dark spots you see when you look up at the moon.
The Moon’s gravity pulls at the Earth, causing predictable rises and falls in sea levels known as tides. At full Moon and new Moon, the Sun, Earth and Moon are lined up, producing the higher than normal tides (called spring tides). When the Moon is at first or last quarter, smaller tides form.
The Moon was first visited by the Soviet spacecraft Luna 2 in 1959. Humans first walked on the Moon on July 20, 1969 when Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out of the The Apollo 11 lunar module. The two astronauts spent 22 hours on the Moon, including two and one-half hours outside the lunar module. They gathered samples of lunar material and deployed scientific experiments.
Name of Full Moons
January – Old Moon, Wolf Moon
February – Snow Moon
March – Sap Moon, Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon
April – Grass Moon, Pink Moon
May – Milk Moon, Flower Moon
June – Rose Moon, Strawberry Moon
July – Thunder Moon, Buck Moon
August – Green Corn Moon, Corn Moon, Sturgeon Moon
September – Fruit Moon, Harvest Moon
October – Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon
November – Frost Moon, Beaver Moon
December – Long Night Moon, Cold Moon
- The Moon is 4.5 billion years old
- Most of the Moon’s surface is covered with regolith, a mixture of fine dust and rocky debris produced by meteor impacts
- The Moon doesn’t produce its own light, but looks bright because it reflects light from the Sun
- The surface of the Moon has about the same area as the continent of Africa
- The Moon has no atmosphere. But evidence from the Clementine spacecraft suggests that there may be water ice in some deep craters near the Moon’s south pole
- The moon orbits Earth at an average speed of 2,288 miles per hour
- Only 59% of the moon’s surface is visible from earth. We always see the same side; the other side is always hidden. As the moon rotates around the earth, it also rotates around its own axis at the same rate. This is why we always see the same side of the moon
- The first space craft to send back pictures from the moon was Luna 3 (USSR) in October 1959
- When a month has two full moons, the second full moon is called a blue moon
- The moon moves toward the east in our sky by about 12 degrees each day