26 Facts About the Moon

1. Satellite

The Moon is not a planet, it is the natural satellite of the Earth.

2. Surface

The surface area of the Moon is 37,932,000 square km (14,658,000 square miles) or 9.4 billion acres.

3. Radius

The radius of the Moon is 1,738 kilometers (1,080 miles).

4. Diameter

The diameter of the Moon is 3,476 kilometers (2,160 miles).

5. Weight

The total weight of the Moon is 74 sextillion kilograms (81 Quintillion Tons).

6. Temperature

When sunlight hits the Moon’s surface, the temperature can reach 124 ºC (253 ºF). The “dark side of the moon” can have temperatures dipping to -153 ºC (-243 ºF).

7. Gravity

Gravity at the surface of the moon is 1/6 that of the Earth. If you weigh 54 kilograms (120 pounds), you would weigh only 9 kilograms (20 pounds) on the moon.

8. Largest

The Moon is the largest natural satellite relative to the size of the object it orbits. In real terms, it is only the fifth largest natural satellite in the solar system.

9. Rotation

The Moon rotates about 16 kph (10 mph). By comparison, the Earth rotates about 1,609 kph (1,000 mph).

10. Orbit

The Moon makes a complete orbit around Earth with respect to the fixed stars about once every 27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes, 11.5 seconds (sidereal period).

11. Lunar Phases

The lunar phases change cyclically as the Moon orbits the Earth, according to the changing relative positions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun. It takes to the Moon 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 2.9 seconds to show the same phase to Earth. This temporal interval is called synodic period.

12. Principal Phases

The principal lunar phases are: new moon, first quarter moon, full moon and last quarter moon.

13. Full Moon

A full moon occurs when the Moon is completely illuminated (seen from the Earth), and this occurs when the Moon is in opposition with the Sun. Even today, people insist that full moons are traditionally associated with the increase of temporal insomnia, insanity (hence the terms lunacy and lunatic), admissions to psychiatric hospitals, traffic accidents, homicides, suicides and various “magical phenomena” such as lycanthropy (werewolf), although there is no scientific evidence to support such claims.

14. Blue Moon

When a month has two full moons, the term blue moon is used to describe the second full moon. This event happens every two to three years. This term is also used to describe the third full moon in any season containing 4 full moons.

15. New Moon

A new moon occurs when the Moon is not illuminated by the Sun (seen from the Earth), and this occurs when the Sun and Moon are aligned on the same side of the Earth.

16. Black Moon

When a month has two new moons, the term black moon is used to describe the second new moon. This term is also used to describe the third new moon in any season containing 4 new moons. Black moon is also used to describe the absence of a full or new moon in a calendar month, which can only occur in February.

17. Lunar Day

The lunar day (or the time from sunrise to sunrise) on the moon is approximately 708 hours.

18. Moving Away

The moon is actually moving away from our planet at a rate of 3.81 centimeters (1.5 inches) per year. It is estimated that it will continue to do so for around 50 billion years. By that time, the Moon will be taking around 47 days to orbit the Earth.

19. Same Side

From Earth, we always see the same side of the Moon; the other side is always hidden because the Moon rotates around on its own axis in exactly the same time it takes to orbit the Earth. Only about 59 percent of the Moon’s surface is visible from Earth.

20. Dark Side

The dark side of the moon is a myth, in reality both sides of the Moon see the same amount of Sun.

21. Men on the Moon

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to set foot on the Moon. The Moon is the only extraterrestrial body that has ever been visited by humans. It is also the only body that has had samples taken from it. Only 12 humans have ever walked on the surface of the moon.

22. Tides

The tides on Earth are mostly generated by the Moon’s gravitational pull from one side of Earth to the other.

23. Magnetic Field

The Moon’s magnetic field is 100 to 1000 times weaker than the Earth’s.

24. Moonquakes

A “moonquake” is the lunar equivalent of an earthquake. They were discovered by the Apollo astronauts. “Moonquakes” are millions of times less powerful than earthquakes, though they can last for up to an hour.

25. Mountains & Craters

In the Moon, the highest mountains have 5,000 meters (16,000 ft) height, the widest craters have 225 kilometers (140 miles) in diameter, and the deepest craters have 4,500 meters (15,000 ft) deep.

26. By Car

A trip by car from Earth to the Moon, would take about 135 days, at 112 kph (70 mph).

Bonus – Full Moon on Friday the 13th

On June 13, 2014 the full moon falls on Friday. This is a rare event, it happens, on average, every 20 years or so. The last time it happened was October 13, 2000. The next time will be August 13, 2049.