10 Lesser Known Facts About The Moon

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The bright dusty ball of rock measuring 3,476km in diameter in the night sky has inspired many theories, imaginations and myths. Earth’s Moon is home to mountains, huge craters and flat planes called ‘seas’ made of hardened lava. Moon’s tallest mountain Mons Huygens measures 4700 meters tall. Almost all the mountains on Moon was created by asteroids impacts.
The Moon is Earth’s only natural satellite and contrary to popular beliefs, Moon doesn’t have a ‘dark side’ this myth was caused because on Earth we are only able to see one side of the moon. From Earth, we can only see 59% of the Moon. Also, contrary to popular beliefs, the earth’s moon is shaped more like an egg than a perfect sphere. This is believed to have caused “because the moon’s centre of mass is actually a few miles closer to Earth than its actual geometric centre.”

Facts About The Moon

1. Temperature:


The temperature on the Moon varies from super warm to freezing cold. When the Sun hits its surface the temperature can go as high as 260 degrees F (127 degrees C) and at the lunar equator, the temperature ranges from a remarkably low minus 280 degrees F (minus 173 degrees C) at night. Near the moon’s poles, in some deep craters, most of the time the temperature is around minus 400 degrees F (minus 240 degrees C). And during a lunar eclipse, the surface temperature of the moon can jump about 500 degrees F (300 degrees C) in less than 90 minutes.

2. The Moon Is Slowly Drifting Away:

The moon is slowly moving away from Earth as a reaction to the earth’s tides. It is moving away at a rate of 3.8 cm per year. Experts claim that this could result in the earth becoming very unstable, it can cause the earth to slow down. It is estimated that the moon will continue to move away for around 50 billion years. By that time, the Moon will be taking around 47 days to orbit the Earth instead of the current 27.3 days.

3. Earth’s Atmosphere Causes The Coloration Of Moon During The Lunar Eclipse:

A lot of us wonders why the moon’s colour turns in to a reddish or brown colour during the Lunar Eclipse. Well, this is caused by the earth’s atmosphere. When the sunlight that is reaching the moon passes through the Earth, it filters and refracts the sunlight creating the reddish hue. Without the earth atmosphere, the lunar eclipse would be blackened out and dark.
Other facts about the moon are that it has really weak gravity and no atmosphere. Because of these reasons, you’ll not only weigh about one-sixth (16.5%) of your weight on Earth but also once you have left a footprint, it will stay in pristine condition. Just like the footprints of the astronauts who have walked on the moon’s surface remain perfectly intact. But this also makes the moon unprotected from cosmic rays, meteorites and solar winds. No sound can be heard there and the sky always appears black.

4. Formation:

Scientists aren’t entirely sure how the Moon came to existence, but the moon has a similar age of the Earth. The most popular theory is, a Mars-sized rock, named Theia, crashed into Earth around 4.5 billion years ago. After the crash, a pile of debris was blasted off the Earth, then the debris clumped together and started to orbit due to the earth’s gravity and eventually formed the moon. This crash would explain why the Earth is inclined at 23° rather than vertical and also why the most common chemical elements that make up the Earth are also found on the moon. But there are also other theories like, the moon formed somewhere else and was “captured” by the Earth’s gravity, or that the Earth captured several tiny planets (planetesimals) which coalesced to form the moon or the Earth and the moon were once formed and separated at the beginning of the solar system.

5. The Burial Ground:

Our moon is the destination of a proposed burial ground. According to some reports, since 1992, 450 people’s ashes have been shot into orbit. In the near future, the moon might become a burial ground. Company Elysium Space launched its “lunar memorial” service with the plans of sending the cremated remains (but only up to 1 gram of ashes) for a moon “burial.” But there is one person who has been buried on the moon, late astronomer and geologist, Dr Eugene Shoemaker. NASA honoured Shoemaker by sending his ashes to the moon’s surface with the Lunar Prospector in 1998.

6. The Outer Space Peace Treaty:

In order to prevent possible damage to the moon or it being used for any military purpose, the Outer Space Treaty was agreed and signed by both the United States and Russia in 1967 and other 97 countries. The treaty was agreed upon to keep the moon and other celestial bodies away from any damages. This was probably a great idea as the US did once considered to nuke the moon back in the ’50s. It was a secret project referred to as Project A119 that was planned during the 1950s Cold War period. The idea was proposed in order to prove strength while lagging behind in the space race.

7. The Moon Dust:

 

The NASA astronauts faced a lot of problems because of this moon dust which eroded their boots and affected their visors. Reportedly, the dust just clings to everything because of the low gravity and texture. And it can also be dangerous to human health as when astronaut Harrison Schmitt accidentally breathed in moon dust once, he suffered from “lunar hay fever.” The particles are really sharp and have the ability to kill the lung and brain cells if exposed to it. The NASA astronauts also noticed that the shadows on the moon are darker than on the earth. This could be the result of the fact that the moon doesn’t have an atmosphere. So, on the moon, everything that the sun didn’t shine directly on was completely black.

8. The Lunar Standard Time:

The moon also has a time zone, different from the earth, it’s called the Lunar Standard Time. This time zone started when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. There are 12 lunar days in a year on the moon, named after the 12 astronauts who have walked on its surface. Each lunar day is then divided into 30 lunar cycles and one cycle is approximately the same as 23 hours and 37 minutes on Earth. The moon also experiences moon quakes similar to earthquakes. And these quakes are caused by the Earth’s gravitational pull and results in cracks and ruptures. This discovery has led experts to believe that the moon could also have a molten core.

9. The Name Of The Craters On The Moon:

Our moon is covered in craters and those craters are named after a specific theme in a special process. This is controlled by the International Astronomical Union, who also names the other lunar things. The names are given after great people who have accomplished a lot in their lifetimes.

10. The Moon Is Believed To Have An Effect On Our Sleep:

In the past, people have linked mental health to the moon, you know ‘lunar’- ‘lunatics’. The term ‘lunatics’ was first used 14th century to describe those experiencing “a severely disordered state of mind. From the Middle Ages people including scientists and philosophers believed that the moon had an effect on individuals health and that seizures, fever, and rheumatism seemed to coincide with the full moon. But after a lot of researches, all of those beliefs turned out to be false. But the topic of the moon and human sleep cycles has been much debated. But according to an experiment by the University of Basel in Switzerland, participants had a poorer quality of sleep during the full moon.

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