The Moon – a celestial body that has given birth to numerous conspiracy theories and sparked the imaginations of millions of people around the globe. From childhood fairy tales to incredibly difficult scientific journals, this celestial body is almost everywhere. So, it is high time that we learn a few incredible facts about this object through this article titled 20 interesting Moon facts. You ready?
Interesting Moon Facts: 1-10
1. Moon has virtually no atmosphere. Absence of atmosphere means:
- Sky always appears black from Moon’s surface.
- Temperature variations are extremely high on Moon.
- Meteorites and solar winds get free passage to Moon’s surface.
- Harmful cosmic rays easily make their way to Moon’s surface.
2. There is nothing called dark side of Moon. All sides of Moon get equal amount of sunlight. The concept of dark side of Moon came up because we can only see one side of Moon. This happens because the Moon takes exactly 27.3 days to complete one revolution around Earth and exactly 27.3 days to complete one rotation on its own axis. Because of this, only one side of Moon is visible to us. The only way to see the other side of the Moon is to see it from a spacecraft.
3. Moon experiences what is known as lunar or Moonquakes. On Earth we call it Earthquake. Moonquakes are caused by gravitational tug of Earth. Astronauts who landed on Moon used seismographs to record Moon quakes several kilometers underneath the Moon’s surface.
4. Moon is drifting away from Earth at a speed of 3.8 centimeters per year. Scientists have somehow calculated that this drift will continue for next 50 billion years at the end of which, the Moon will be far enough and will be orbiting the Earth in 47 days as opposed to 27.3 days as of today.
5. Moon too exerts a gravitational tug on Earth. Because of the gravitational attraction of Moon, the water in Earth’s oceans accelerate towards the Moon and causes the water to bulge. The Moon revolves or orbits around Earth and Earth rotates on its own axis. As a result of these two motions, the water bulge also moves. High tide is referred to areas where water bulges out and the other areas are low tide areas.
6. Water on Earth facing the Moon bulges out but what happens to the water on the opposite side of the Earth, i.e. the water that is not facing the Moon? The water on the opposite side also bulges out because of a force known as centrifugal force. Centrifugal force is a force that acts opposite to the gravitational pull between Moon and Earth and keeps the two celestial bodies apart.
7. The Moon is almost as old as the Earth and the Sun. It was formed shortly after the Earth was formed some 4.5 billion years ago. There are many theories about how the Moon was formed but the most widely accepted theory is that shortly after the formation of Earth, a Mars-sized collided with Earth, throwing a cloud of vaporized rock (part of Earth and other objects) out into space, which then condensed and formed Moon. The vaporized rock cloud could not escape out into open space because of Earth’s gravitational pull.
8. The Moon is only 27% the total size of Earth and its gravitational pull is only 1/6th that of Earth. This is why a person who weighs 150 pounds on Earth weighs only 25 pounds on Moon.
9. Moon follows an oval orbit around Earth. The closest distance between Earth’s center and Moon’s center is 225,740 miles and the farthest distance is 251,970 miles.
10. Like Earth, the Moon too had a very violent childhood. Both Earth and Moon went through what is known as Late Heavy Bombardment some 4 billion years ago (that is 0.5 billion years after they were formed). These bombardments by asteroids left scars on Moon in form of craters.