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Monday, 27 June 2016

The Moon

HISTORY

The Moon was formed 4.6 billion years ago, around some 30–50 million years after the formation of the solar system.

The realization that the moon does not itself shine but reflects sunlight dates back to Pythagoras in the 6th century BC.

In 1178 five Canterbury monks observed what was possibly the Giordano Bruno crater being formed. It is believed that the current oscillations of the Moon's distance from the Earth are a result of this collision.

Christopher Columbus once used his knowledge of a lunar eclipse at night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies.

The Moon, tinted reddish, during a lunar eclipse. By Alfredo Garcia, Jr, [2] - Flickr [1] Wikipedia Commons

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have had a full moon.

The first photo of the Moon was in 1851; the first photo of its dark side was in 1959.

Luna 2, a Soviet space probe, became the first man-made object to reach the Moon on September 14, 1959. It crashed into it at around 7,500 mph.

Luna 2 Soviet moon probe.

The first photos of the far side of the Moon in 1959 were transmitted to Earth from a distance of 292,000 miles (470,000 km) by the Soviet Luna III .

The first spacecraft to perform a successful lunar soft landing was the Russian-built Luna 9 in 1966.

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 made it illegal for countries to establish military bases on the Moon.

Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969, closely followed by Buzz Aldrin, during the Apollo 11 mission.

The Russian space probe Luna 16 landed on the Moon on September 20, 1970  to collect samples from its surface. It was the first unmanned probe to bring objects back from space, returning home with 100g of soil and rock.

Apollo 15 astronauts David Scott and James Irwin were history's first moon riders. They took their lunar dune buggy for a two-hour drive on the surface of the moon on July 31, 1971.

The Lunar Roving Vehicle at its final resting place after EVA-3.

There is over 180,000 kg of man-made trash and debris on the moon, including 96 bags of urine, feces, and vomit.

In 2005 ESA's Smart-1 lunar orbiter discovered elements such as aluminium, calcium, iron, silicon, and other surface elements on the moon.

Chang'e 3 was an unmanned lunar exploration mission operated by the China National Space Administration, incorporating a robotic lander and China's first lunar rover, the Yutu rover. It became the first spacecraft to land on the Moon since 1976 on December 14, 2013.

Chang'e 3, China's first Moon lander, imaged by the Yutu rover. Wikipedia

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

A full moon is around nine times brighter than a half moon.

Full moon as seen from Earth's northern hemisphere. By Gregory H. Revera, Wikipedia Commons

According to Apollo astronauts, the Moon smells like burnt gunpowder.

The Moon weighs 73,476,730,924,573,500 million kg. The Earth is more than 81 times as big.

The Moon gets hit by over 6,000 pounds of meteor material per day.

The giant far-side South Pole–Aitken basin is some 2,240 km (1,390 mi) in diameter. It the largest crater on the Moon and the second-largest confirmed impact crater in the Solar System.

The highest point on the Moon is higher above its surface than Mount Everest on Earth.

All the American flags on the moon have been bleached white by radiation from the sun.

RELATIONSHIP TO EARTH

Our moon doesn't have a cool name like Europa, Io, or Triton because for most of history, humans thought the Earth's moon was the only moon.

We can see the Moon only because light from the Sun bounces off it back to Earth. If the Sun wasn’t there, we wouldn’t be able to see the Moon.

Owing to its synchronous rotation around Earth, the Moon always shows the same face: its near side.

Only 59% of the moon's surface is visible from the Earth.

Moon setting in western sky over the High Desert in California. By Jessie Eastland - Wikipedia Commons

Although other planets have larger satellites than our Moon, the ratio of our Moon’s diameter to that of Earth is the largest in the solar system.

Research shows that people in the UK are most likely to be bitten by dogs when the moon is full.

The distance from the Earth to the moon varies between 221,500 miles to 252,700 miles. This is because the Moon orbits in an elliptical pattern, which means the actual distance can vary.

The Sun is 400 times further from the Earth than the Moon, but the Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun.

A day on the Moon is so slow that you could outrun the sun in a car and stay in perpetual sunlight.

The Moon is slowly moving further away from Earth at about 4cm a year

The average gravitational pull on the Moon is only a sixth of that on Earth.

Astronauts on the moon only weigh one-sixth of what they do on earth.

"Moon" is the only word occurring twice in the top 10 songs of the 20th century. "Moon River" was the third most performed song of the 20th century, "Blue Moon" was eighth.


WEATHER

The surface temperature on the Moon varies between –233C and 123C.


There are places that remain in permanent shadow at the bottoms of many polar craters. These dark craters are extremely cold: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter measured the lowest summer temperatures in craters at the southern pole at just 26 K (−247 °C; −413 °F) close to the winter solstice in north polar Hermite Crater. This is the coldest temperature in the Solar System ever measured by a spacecraft, colder even than the surface of Pluto.

Sources Daily Express, Daily Mail

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