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Facts About the Moon

These 16 Lunar Facts About the Moon Will Blow Your Mind!

Moon, the enduring icon of thousands of romantic poems, is a far more interesting place than poets could ever imagine and yes, it's definitely not made of cheese. Here are some interesting facts about our planet's sole companion, in her journey through the cosmos.
Omkar Phatak
Last Updated: Aug 26, 2017
Moon is the only satellite of Earth, the third rock from the Sun. It has been a silent witness to everything that happened on our planet since ages. Earth and Moon have been dancing a 'Gravitational Tango' for more than 4.5 billion years now. Nowadays, there is renewed interest in exploration of the satellite, as the mineral deposits there, have caught the attention of the world.

It has large deposits of Titanium on its surface which has attracted considerable attention in recent decades. Also, there are plans of building a permanent station there. Eventually, colonization of our only satellite and other planets like Mars is imminent and inevitable as man would want to leave the cocoon of the Earth and spread beyond its confines.

Interesting Facts
  • Out of the 173 natural satellites in our solar system, the Moon, estimated to be 4.5 billion years old, is the fifth largest in size.
  • Its distance from Earth is 384,403 km, which is about 30 times the Earth's diameter. Light takes about 1.28 seconds to cross this distance.
  • Its diameter is 3,474 km, which is about quarter of the Earth's radius.
  • The lunar surface area is less than one-tenth of the total surface area of the Earth
  • The plane of Moon's orbit is tilted at an angle of 5.145o to the plane of the Sun's equator, called the Ecliptic.
  • The acceleration due to gravity on this satellite is 1/6th of the acceleration on Earth's surface. Your mass, of course, will remain the same, but your weight, which is a measure of the pull of gravity, will change on the Moon. So, if you weigh 72 kg on Earth, then your weight will be only 12 kg on the Moon.
  • Its rate of rotation around its own axis, is the same as its rotation rate around the Earth. This is called synchronous rotation. The result of this kind of motion is that its one side constantly faces the Earth, while the other side is always hidden away.
  • 20th July, 1969, marked a big leap in the history of mankind, as Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin became the first men to land on the Moon, through the Apollo 11 space mission.
  • Its surface is pockmarked by millions of craters, which were created by the impact of massive asteroids. The biggest impact crater is 2,240 km in diameter and is 13 km deep.
  • It has almost no atmosphere, due to low surface gravity.
  • A day on the moon lasts for a month and the night that follows also lasts for a month. During the day, temperature reaches 107° C and during the night, it drops down to around -153° C.
  • Sea tides on Earth are caused by the Moon's gravitational pull on the oceans.
  • Normally, there are 12 'Full Moons' in a year. However, due to an accumulation of some extra 11 days every year, an extra 13th Full Moon occurs after 2 or three years. It is called a 'Blue Moon'.
  • Solar eclipses occur when Moon is in its 'New Moon phase', while lunar ones occur on a 'Full Moon'. A lunar eclipse is caused by the engulfment of the satellite in the shadow of the Earth when both are perfectly aligned with the Sun.
  • Total solar eclipses are very rare events indeed and they occur when the Moon is exactly between the Sun and Earth, casting its shadow on the planet.
  • The prediction of every future solar and lunar eclipse is done using a known cyclic pattern of repetition called the Saros cycle.
Hope you have enjoyed reading these interesting facts, as much as I enjoyed compiling them for you.
Causes of tides
Solar eclipse of moon
Total Lunar Eclipse
White full moon atmosphere with star at dark night
Shuttle to the moon