Moon Facts – Top 6 Interesting Facts About The Moon

Last updated on September 25th, 2020 at 02:20 am

The mysteries of our heliocentric planetary system will always be a riddle to be solved. Our solar system still has so many deep secrets to be unfolded. As we all know, Moon is by far the Earth’s only natural satellite and the second densest natural satellite after Jupiter’s satellite Io. In this article, we will try to uncover The Moon Facts – Top 6 Interesting Facts About the Moon Like The Dark Side Of The Moon to the question like What Is The Moon Made Of?

 

The Dark Side Of The Moon

Our Natural Satellite – The Moon is by far the closest celestial object that can be seen in the night sky. Thanks to the Copernican revolution, that now we are very much aware of the fact that all the heavenly bodies are round in shape. Therefore, just like any other heavenly body, Earth’s only natural satellite -The Moon is bound to have two hemispheres commonly known as The Near Side Of The Moon and The Far Side Of The Moon (sometimes also referred to as The Dark Side Of The Moon). I mean, if we take pictures of the moon from Earth what we see is The Near Side Of The Moon. Now the question arises what about the other side of the moon or simply speaking – Why Can’t We See The Dark Side Of The Moon?
tidal-locking
Tidal locking results in the Moon rotating about its axis in about the same time it takes to orbit Earth.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The only reason behind the fact that Why Can’t We See The Dark Side Of The Moon is the synchronized motion between Earth and Moon. Or in the language of physics, this phenomenon is widely known as Tidal Locking or Synchronous Locking. Let me clear one thing, that the dark side of the moon is not dark at all. People used to think like that only because it was unseen by humans. In fact, both sides of the moon receive an equal amount of sunlight. This controversial thinking about the dark side of the moon was debunked in 1959 when soviet spacecraft LUNA 3 took the first-ever pictures of the dark side of the moon – and from that picture, it was cleared that the dark side of the moon is just a myth.

far-side-of -the-moon-pictures
far side of the moon pictures taken by LUNA 3
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Note:- If we talk about the recent update regarding the far side of the moon, on January 3, 2019, a space probe of Chinese lunar exploration named Chang’e 4 became the first-ever unmanned spacecraft to softly land on the far side of the surface of the moon.

 
 

Phases Of The Moon

One of the most common and interesting information about moon is that it appears to change its shape while revolving around the earth. This phenomenon is commonly known as Phases Of The MoonIn simple terms, every day we observe the changing moon size is scientifically known as the Phases Of The Moon or Lunar Phases Of The Moon. There are 8 Lunar Phases Of The Moon that occurs at a specific location on the Moon’s Orbit while revolving around the earth.
8-lunar-phases-of-moon-from-new-moon-to-full-moon-to-new-moon
8 Lunar Phases Of Moon – From New Moon To Full Moon To New Moon
Credit: WikiHow
Technically, phases of the moon can be divided into 4 primary phases that are:- New Moon, First Quarter Moon, Full Moon, Last Quarter Moon; and 4 Secondary Phases that are:- Waxing Crescent Moon, Waning Crescent Moon, Waxing Gibbous Moon, and Wanning Gibbous Moon. Only on a full moon, a lunar eclipse can occur. And only on a new moon day, a Solar Eclipse can occur. All the Full Moons have different nicknames for a different season.
 
 

How Was The Moon Formed?

Well, there are so many controversial theories related to the fact that How Was The Moon Formed? or How Was Moon Made? — such as the earth captured moon from space, or, earth and moon were formed at the same time or simply maybe the moon got fissioned out of the Earth. Out of all these controversial theories related to origin of the moon, the most critically acclaimed or I can say widely accepted by the scientific community is the Giant Impact Hypothesis. According to the Giant Impact Hypothesis, the moon was formed because of the collision between the earth (called proto-Earth) and mars sized celestial object named Theia; that’s why the giant-impact hypothesis is sometimes called as Theia impact. 
an-animated-form-of-giant-impact-hypothesis
An Animated Form Of Giant-Impact Hypothesis
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Due to the Collison impact, the material from both Earth and Theia blasted out and went into orbit around Earth. After some time being passed, the debris leftover condensed and gathered together forming our natural satellite – the moon. Well, if you ask about my view, I would say that questions like – Where Did The Moon Come From or Origin Of The Moon can never be solved with certainty because all we can do is hypothesize. I mean, maybe in the near future some scientists will suggest that earth captured the moon from Mercury or Venus. Or maybe we can wait till the time that some physics guy develops a time-travel machine and then we can go by ourselves to see how was the moon formed some 4.5 billion years ago. Till then chill, relax, and see the next moon interesting facts.

see also, Top 6 Fun Facts About Space

 

Does Moon Have An Atmosphere?

Well, technically the moon does have an atmosphere, but quite a thin one; almost like a vacuum. I mean, if we compare the density of Moon atmosphere with the Earth atmosphere – the atmospheric pressure at the surface of the moon is quite similar to the density of earth’s uppermost atmospheric layer where the International Space Station resides – which is almost regarded as a vacuum. Due to the non- availability of atmosphere on the moon, the temperature on the moon varies drastically – like at day time, the average moon temperature is approximately 127 degrees Celcius and at night time, the average moon temperature is minus 173 degrees Celsius.
lunar-atmospheric-composition-experiment-(LACE)-deployment-during-appolo-17-mission
The Lunar Atmospheric Composition Experiment (LACE) Deployment During Appolo 17 Mission
Credit: Lunar and Planetary Institute

Though there are some elements that are known to be present in the Lunar atmosphere – such as Potassium, Sodium, Argon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, Helium, etc. In fact, there are some evidence for the presence of water vapors detected by chandrayaan-1 in the atmosphere of the moon. Even if we talk about recent research related to the presence of water on moon, in August 2018, NASA confirmed that there is a presence of water ice on the surface of the moon around the moon poles.

 
 

Moon Is Moving Away From Earth

earth-seen-from-moon
Credit: nasa.gov

Some astronomers have calculated that Moon is Moving away from Earth towards the Sun at the rate of approx 3.78 cm with each passing year. Well, without the presence of the moon around the Earth, the Earth will become unstable and could seriously affect life on the planet. But you don’t need to worry, this whole drifting process of the moon could take billions of years to happen. so chill !!!!

 

What Is The Moon Made Of?

What Is The Moon Made Of is still a mystery to be solved. Still, we know a bit about our natural satellite. According to the Moon Definition, just like Earth, there are 3 layers of moon – Crust, Mantle, and, Core. As per the research data available, the Moon’s Crust is mostly made up of Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Oxygen, Silicon, and Aluminum. The average thickness of the moon’s crust is estimated to be around 50 km. There is also evidence of Titanium, Uranium, Potassium, and Hydrogen presence in the moon’s crust.
Some Scientist Argue that the composition of Earth and Moon is a little bit Similar
Credit: Crushpixel

Just below the moon’s crust resides the mantle of the moon. If we talk all about the Moon Mantle Composition, it is largely made up of Mineral Olivine, Orthopyroxene, and, Clinopyroxene, etc. The available evidence suggests that the Lunar mantle is more iron-rich as compared to Earth’s Mantle. The average thickness of the Lunar mantle is estimated to be around 50km.

pictures-of-the-surface-of-the-moon
pictures of the surface of the moon
Credit: moon.nasa.gov

The last but not the least layers of moon is its Core. Well, the composition of the moon core is still not understood. Some scientists think that it is mostly made up of metallic iron. Though there is also some evidence for the presence of Sulfur and Nickel too.  The average thickness of the lunar core is about 20 percent of the diameter of the moon.

About Atul Sinha

I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my carrier, and therefore I just completed my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as like ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every part of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

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