The moon… what is it exactly?

The Moon is the only natural satellite of the Earth.

It is the fifth largest satellite in the Solar System and it was born 4.5 billion years ago, not long after the Earth

The rotation of the Moon is synchronized with the Earth, which means that the Moon does its rotation following the Earth.

It is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun, although its surface is actually very dark.  We can see the Moon bright because it reflects the light from the Sun. The part of the moon facing the Sun is lit up while the side facing away from the sun is in darkness.

The Moon is about 384,400 kilometers from Earth. If you wanted to travel to the Moon by car it would take you about 130 days to arrive there!

As the Moon makes its way around the Earth, we see the bright parts of the Moon’s surface at different angles. These are called “phases” of the Moon. So, the changing shape of the bright part of the Moon that we see is called its phase.

The phases of the moon work in a cycle starting with the new moon. here are eight phases of the moon

The phases are named after how much of the moon we can see, and whether the amount visible is increasing, or decreasing each day. There are eight phases of the Moon in total. It takes our Moon about 29 days to complete its cycle through all eight phases. This is known as a Lunar month.

The Moon is the only celestial body other than Earth on which humans have set foot. The Soviet Union’s Luna programme was the first to reach the Moon in 1959; the United States’ NASA Apollo program arrived to Moon in 1968 with the spacecraft Apollo 8. After that, the Apollo mission has had other 6 landings on the Moon ground.

Did you know…? The Moon’s gravitational forces influence produces the ocean tides.