The Moon, otherwise known as Luna, is the only natural satellite of Earth. It created 4.6 billion years ago, and it is widely accepted that it was created when Earth collided with a planet-sized object called Theia. It’s the fifth largest moon in our solar system and is the second brightest object in the sky (after the Sun).
Interesting Facts about Earth’s Moon
- The Moon is estimated to be 4.5 billion years ago. We were not around to see its creation, but it was most likely made when a large object collided with Earth. This would have blasted out rocks that began to orbit around the Earth. These were then drawn together and over time melted into one another. Once they cooled down, they became the Moon.
- The Moon would have been hit by other rocks for 500 million years. These are rocks from the original collision, and this is why the Moons surface is covered in craters, over 500,000 of them!
- The Moon is very visible from Earth. With a telescope or even a very good pair of binoculars, you can see the moons surface and its craters.
- The Moon is tidally locked to the Earth. This means that the same side of the moon is facing the Earth at all times. Images have been captured from space that shows the opposite side to look very similar to what we can see.
- There is no atmosphere on the Moon. This is why the craters are still there, and there is no rain and wind or weather activity to erode the surface as we see on Earth.
- The Moon has seas! Not real oceans like we have on Earth but large smooth pits of lava. These appear on the moon as areas darker than the rest of the surface. Each sea has a Latin name.
- The Moon goes through phases. These happen when the moon is lit differently by the Sun. The Moon appears to Earth as a small crescent, as it rotates around the Earth this expands to a full moon and back to a small crescent. This happens once every 29 days and is called a lunar month.
- The Moon causes the rise and fall of the ocean’s tides on Earth. This is because the Moon has a gravitational force which causes the oceans to bulge outwards on both sides of the planet. This is the Moon pulling the water towards itself. Due to the different rotations of the Earth and the Moon, the area of the planet affected changes throughout the day. This means any given area of Earth will experience a high tide (caused by this bulge) every 12 hours and 25 minutes.
- The Moon is slowly moving away from Earth. Don’t worry! It is only going 3.8cm away each year, and we won’t notice a difference for some time!
- You weigh less on the Moon than you do on Earth. This is because the moon has a much weaker level of gravity than Earth. This is due to the satellites smaller mass. You would weigh about 16.5% of what you do on Earth.
- People have walked on the Moon! But only 12 of them. All of which were males. These were all part of the Apollo missions between 1968 and 1972. Nobody has been there since but there are future plans to revisit the Moon.
- The Moon is the fifth largest natural satellite. It is only beaten in size by the very large Moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
- How Many People Have Walked on the Moon?
- Which Planet Has the Most Moons?
- How Many Moons Does Saturn Have?
- Why Do We See Different Phases of the Moon?
- What Causes a Blood Moon?
- What would happen if the moon exploded?
- What is the temperature on the moon?
- What would happen if there was no moon?
- Moons in Our Solar System