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Moon facts

Travel Forums Off Topic Moon facts

1. Posted by Jim Colyer (Budding Member 25 posts) 2y


In 1981 I used maps to identify the moon's prominent features. The dark maria are lava plains. Lava flowed from the moon's interior when impacts were hard enough. Five maria combine to form a foot with three toes: Tranquillity, Serenity, Crises, Fertility and Nectar.

There are not many lava plains on the far side of the moon. The crust is thicker on the far side, so it did not break and flood the lowlands with lava.

The moon is geologically dead. If a meteor hits, the crater is more or less permanent. There are some interesting craters. Aristarchus is the brightest. Plato is the darkest. Copernicus, Aristarchus, Kepler and Grimaldi form a Y-shape. Tycho in the south is the youngest crater. Young craters have rays extending from them. These rays are stuff that was thrown out. Craters have central peaks, caused by the ground bouncing back. The Apennine mountains rise 20,000 feet.

Earthshine is Earth lighting up the lunar night. It is sunlight bouncing off the earth, hitting the moon and coming back to our eyes. Earthshine is seen during the moon's crescent phases when the moon is nearly in line with the sun and the earth. The horns of the moon always point away from the sun.

The moon appears to wax and wane in its monthly orbit. Phases of the moon are new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, last quarter and waning crescent. The new moon is "no moon" because the side reflecting the sun is turned away from us.

First quarter is lit on the right. Last quarter is lit on the left. Quarter phases are a quarter of the cycle, 90 degrees, from the sun in either direction.

A blue moon is a second full moon in a calendar month. Blue moons are not that rare. They occur once every 2.7 years.

Until recently it was thought that the earth and moon formed at the same time. It now appears that the moon came into existence when an asteroid crashed into the earth and ripped part of it away. This accounts for the moon not having a metal core. Old theories are earth-based. New theories are space-based.

The earth slowed the moon's spin until it keeps one side to us. The moon has two weeks of daylight and two weeks of night. There is no such thing as a "dark side" because the side we never see gets two weeks of light each month.

The moon is 240,000 miles from Earth. At our doorstep! If we drove around the world 10 times, we could be on the moon.

The moon causes the tides in our oceans. It tugs at our atmosphere as well, but we are so deep in the atmosphere that we are unaware of it.

In March, 1960, I saw a total lunar eclipse. The moon took on a dark, copper hue. It remained visible because sunlight was refracted, or bent, onto it by the earth's atmosphere.

The earth casts a shadow into space. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through this shadow. Usually the moon passes above or below the shadow. A lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon because the sun, earth and moon have to line up.

Earth's shadow has two parts. The umbra is the dark inner cone. The penumbra is the lighter part around it.

"Umbra" is Latin for shadow. During totality, the moon is completely inside the umbra.

In February, 1979, I saw a partial solar eclipse in Nashville. It was subtle. Had I not known it was going on, I would not have suspected anything out of the ordinary.

During a solar eclipse, the moon passes between the earth and sun. Solar eclipses are more fleeting than lunar eclipses because of the relative sizes of the shadows cast by the earth and moon.

The sky is blue because air reflects light. The sky on the moon is black because there is no air. The only color is the blue earth in the sky. From the moon the earth is stationary but goes through phases.

The temperature of the moon's surface varies 500 degrees, from 225 to -275.

Minerals in the moon rocks vary somewhat from those on Earth. There were no fossils in the moon rocks. Life began in the sea, and the moon has never had water.

American astronauts went to the moon six times between 1969 and 1972. 12 men walked on its surface. Neil Armstrong was the first. He made a mistake when he delivered his prepared statement. He said, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." He meant to say, "One small step for "a" man."

Apollo 11 landed in the Sea of Tranquillity.

Weirdos claim that the moon landings were fake. They point to the picture of the American flag supposedly blowing in the wind as proof. Of course, there is no wind on the moon. Actually a horizontal bar was attached to the top of the flag to keep it from going limp. I am not sure if these people are crazy, stupid or making a joke. I debated Bart Sibrel in the parking lot of a karaoke bar in Nashville. Bart was convinced that we never went to the moon. It came out in the national news that he approached Buzz Aldrin (second man on the moon) in California and tried to force him to swear on a Bible that the moon landings were real. Buzz punched him in the jaw! Bart tried to sue, but the Los Angeles County District Attorney refused to file charges.