The Moon has inspired countless artists, writers, religions etc. through out human history. It’s our closest neighbor in space. It’s the only object in space that man has set foot on other than earth. It directly affects earth through its gravitational pull and in many ways is our planet’s partner in its journey through space. You might know some basic facts about the Moon such as the lower gravity and the fact that it causes tides in our oceans but there are other facts about the Moon that you might not know.
The moon was formed when a celestial object, roughly the size of Mars collided with the earth. A cloud of vaporized rock rose into orbit around the earth due to that massive collision. This debris contained parts of the object that hit earth and of earth itself. These particles slowly collected together to form the Moon, so technically there are parts of earth in the Moon.
The moon looks spherical from earth but it’s actually shaped like an egg. We don’t see it because the pointed end of the egg is towards us. What we see is the central bulge of the egg which is the widest part of the Moon and it looks as if the Moon is spherical.
Scientists have predicted the presence of water on the moon. Several satellite pictures have shown the presence of frozen ice in some parts of the Moon. NASA is now planning on hurling a spent rocket towards the moon which will lead to an explosive collision. Debris from the surface and below the surface of the moon will rise in a plume and NASA plans on studying this plume to prove the presence of water on Moon.
Unlike shown in popular culture the “dark side” of the Moon is not literally dark. It is just the far side of the moon. The Moon spins on its axis in the same time that it takes to complete one revolution of the earth. This means that we are always seeing only one side of the Moon. The other side can’t be seen from the earth but it does receive sunlight and is definitely not dark.
It was thought that the moon did not have any geological activity and its core was dead. But now scientists have found that the moon might have a geologically active core that might even be molted. Apollo astronauts found that there are moonquakes on the surface of the Moon due to the gravity of earth and sometimes cracks appear that release gases from inside the core.
If you were fond of the Moon you might be sad to hear that it is slowly moving away from the earth. It drifts away from us at the rate of 4 centimeters per year. I guess there’s no point in getting sad because at this rate it will not be able to leave us before the sun swallows us both.
The Moon and the earth are locked in a gravitational dance as they travel through space. The Moon tugs on the earth and the earth tugs back. This tug of war has the effect of taking some of earth’s rotational energy away. So the Moon is slowing down the earth’s rotation by about 1.5 milliseconds every century.
The Moon is the fifth largest natural satellite in the solar system. It’s even bigger than Pluto which used to be a planet. Some scientists believe that Moon can be considered a planet and the earth and the moon can be considered as a double planet system that revolves around the sun.
Scientists have found a 5 kilometer wide asteroid that is caught in earth’s gravity and is orbiting around the earth. Its orbit is horseshoe shaped and highly elliptical and it takes 770 years to complete on orbit. This makes it the second natural satellite of earth and it could be called the second moon of earth.