“Interesting facts about the moon” by Siddhesh Mhatre
The moon is the brightest and the largest object in our night sky, but most of us are not aware of the really intriguing facts about the Moon. Here are some interesting facts about the Moon that will blow your mind.
About 4.5 billion years ago, Earth was larger than it is today. At that time an object the size of Mars collided with the earth, which caused a portion of the earth to be separated and this portion resulted in the formation of the moon.
Will the Moon Disappear?
According to Computer simulations, the moon was 12-19 times closer to earth than it is today. This is because the moon gets 3.78 cm further away each year. It was depicted that it was at a distance of just 20,000 – 30,000 km in the beginning while it is at a distance of 384,000 km now.
Tidal bulges are a result of the Moon.
It is common knowledge that the moon has its own gravitational pull. This gravitational attraction provokes bulges in the water, which in turn causes tides on Earth. Simply put, the Moon causes the water to rise on one side of the Earth while bulging in the opposite direction on the other side of the Earth where the Moon’s gravitational pull is weaker. With the Earth’s rotation, those bulges move around the oceans, causing high and low tides.
You observe the same face of the moon every time.
The Moon rotates around its axis, just like Earth does, but because this rotation only lasts about 27 days, or roughly the same time period as the 27.32 days it takes for the Moon to orbit the Earth, you can only ever see one side of the Moon at a time. One such phenomenon is known as “tidal locking” or “captured rotation”, which means that the other side of the Moon was completely hidden before the arrival of space exploration.
Temperature swings that are intense
Since the Moon appears to lack a protective atmosphere, the surface experiences extreme temperatures ranging from extremely cold on the far ‘night’ side to above boiling on the near ‘sunny’ side. According to NASA, the temperature on the Moon can range from 123 degrees Celsius to -233 degrees Celsius. It has a mean surface temperature of 107 degrees Celsius during the day and -153 degrees Celsius at night.
The Moon is not protected from meteorites because it lacks an atmosphere, hence it is full of craters that aid in our understanding of the ‘natural history’ of our Solar System. There are 190 identified impact craters on Earth, many of which are covered by water and vegetation, but there are millions on the Moon, including 5000 with diameters greater than 20 km. Because the Moon’s surface is dormant and subject to fewer geological forces such as volcanoes or erosion than the Earth’s, it neatly stores new evidence of ancient formations and craters. That makes it an ideal laboratory or archive for gaining knowledge regarding our Solar System.
The Chandrayaan-1 mission from India discovered water near the Moon’s poles, and NASA discovered water in the soil. This opens up a plethora of possibilities for one-day establishing moon colonies.
The moon has its own timezone and it’s called “Lunar Standard Time,” but it doesn’t simply correspond to Earth time. Time on the moon differs greatly from time on Earth, a year on the moon is broken down into twelve “days,” each about the duration of an Earth month. Each “day” is named after a different Apollo moonwalking astronaut. The “days” are broken down into 30 “cycles,” which are further broken down into hours, minutes, and seconds. Fun fact, the calendar began when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon: Year 1, day 1, cycle 1 started on July 21, 1969, at 02:56:15 UTC.
Phases of the Earth
The Earth, from the viewpoint of the moon, goes through phases as well. They are, however, opposite to the lunar phases visible from Earth. It’s a full Earth when we witness a new moon, a last-quarter Earth when we experience a first-quarter moon; a crescent Earth when we experience a gibbous moon.
The Earth would always be in the same position in the sky from any location on the moon.
Our Earth appears nearly four times larger than a regular full moon to us from the moon, and it shines anywhere between 45 and 100 times brighter than a full moon, depending on the state of our atmosphere. When a full Earth appears in the lunar sky, it casts a bluish-gray glow on the surrounding lunar landscape.
Eclipses are reversed when viewing from the moon
The moon’s phases aren’t the only thing visible in reverse. For us, a lunar eclipse is a solar eclipse caused by the moon. In this case, the Earth’s disc appears to be blocking the sun.
If it completely blocks the sun, a narrow ring of light surrounds the dark disc of the Earth, with the sun backlighting our atmosphere. The ring appears to have a ruddy hue since it’s the combined light of all the sunrises and sunsets occurring at that particular moment. That’s why during a total lunar eclipse, the moon takes on a ruddy or coppery glow.