The Moon is the second brightest celestial body in our Sky, after the Sun. It is what is called a natural satellite of the Earth. Held within the Earth’s gravitational field, it is in synchronous rotation with it. More than a star, the Moon has always fascinated and influenced civilizations all over the world. Here is why…
Some key information about the Moon
Here is some interesting data to better understand and unveil the mystery of the Moon:
384,000 km (239,000 miles) between the Earth and the Moon.
It is 4 times smaller than Earth.
Its diameter is almost 3,500km. But in spite of its relatively small size, it plays a decisive role in our lives.
Gravity is 6 times lesser than on Earth, due to its mass, far below that of our own planet. It means that if we stood on the Moon, we would feel 6 times lighter than we actually are.
Its surface is riddled with countless meteorite impacts that crashed there throughout the millennia. These meteorites have left deep craters that are visible to the naked eye, and give the Moon its mysterious relief.
The Moon was presumably born 4.5 billion years ago from the collision between the Earth and another planet called Theia.
It makes a complete orbit around Earth once every 29 days.
It is in orbit around the Earth and, simultaneously, it spins on its axis – the whole process lasting for 28 days.
The powers of the Moon
According to Aristotle the philosopher, the Moon used to be a smooth and unchanging sphere. A perfect globe. One of his disciples even explained the lunar darker spots by saying that the Moon was a kind of polished mirror, reflecting the Earth and the terrestrial landscape. This was believed until the Middle Ages. Today, we know that these spots were left by meteorite impacts.
Nowadays, scientists obviously try to pierce its mysteries with increasingly sophisticated means. They even managed to set up expeditions on the Moon. In 1969, Neil Armstrong the astronaut thus took his first steps on the lunar surface for the first time.
But it does not mean that the conquest of the Moon is over. Because this mystical celestial body does not yield its secrets lightly.
Indeed, the Moon has a strong influence on many aspects of our planet and of our lives, most notably through the lunar calendar on which you can observe the cycles of the Moon.