When people leave Earth, they travel to the moon. The Moon, being the brightest and largest object in our night sky, improves the quality of life on Earth by minimizing the wobble of our home planet on its axis, making it more stable and less prone to shifting direction. It also affects the tides, which have been used for centuries to guide humans. When a planet the size of Mars collided with the Earth, the Moon was born.
There are almost 200 moons in our solar system. Earth’s moon is the sixth-largest in the solar system. There were no other moons until Galileo Galilei discovered four moons orbiting Jupiter in 1610. The Moon, Earth’s sole natural satellite, is referred to as “the Moon” for this reason. In 1959, the Soviet probe Luna 3 took blurry pictures of the other side of the Moon, which was wrongly called the dark side. The other side of the Moon gets the same amount of sunlight as the other side.
This “tidally locked” orbit is caused by the Earth and the Moon colliding and delaying each other’s rotation. Earth’s rotation has also been slowed by the Moon’s gravity, adding around 1.4 milliseconds to our day per century. Simultaneously, the Moon is steadily receding from our world, increasing its orbital distance by a range of a few millimeters to roughly 30 centimeters per year. When the Moon formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago, it was 16 times closer and loomed almost 24 times larger in the sky.
How was the Moon originated?
Theia, a planet around the size of Mars that collided with a young Earth, is thought to be the planet that generated the Moon. Around 4.5 billion years ago, many newly formed planets and protoplanets would have had orbits that were too close together to avoid colliding.
In the Earth’s gravitational field, some of the molten minerals and hot gases from two bodies of the same size may be swirling around.
It might have been possible for a “rejuvenated” Earth to have formed around the Moon. Lighter elements and debris might have piled up, while denser components from Theia stayed near a core. The Apollo mission data overwhelmingly supports this explanation over other theories, such as those that claim the Moon was caught by Earth’s gravitational pull.
In 2020, researchers will examine the oxygen isotopes found on the moon’s surface. This strengthened the case for Theia’s existence. The Moon’s age ranges from 4.425 billion to a little over 4.5 billion years, which suggests that an alternate explanation is still possible. A synestia, a ring of vaporized debris, is one possibility for how it came to be.
In the late 1950s, when humanity entered the Space Age, we first attempted to travel outside of our planet’s atmosphere to the Moon. Robotic explorations of the Moon have been carried out by over 100 spacecraft from a wide range of nationalities. There have been nine crewed missions to and from the Moon. With the launch of Luna 1 in 1959, the Soviet Union’s Luna program achieved its first triumph. To make it feasible for the first humans to set foot on the Moon, NASA sent out a succession of increasingly advanced robots called Ranger and Surveyor. From Earth to the Moon, twenty-four people have made the journey. Twelve people walked across it. In 1972, the last human walked on the moon’s surface.
Currently, NASA is planning to establish a permanent lunar outpost. The first man and woman to walk on the moon, establish a long-term human presence there, and pave the way for additional Martian exploration, are all part of NASA’s Artemis program. The goddess of the Moon, Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology, inspires the show’s moniker.
Astronauts will one day be able to travel to distant planets like the Moon and Mars, thanks to a sequence of progressively more difficult missions known as Artemis 1.
What is a Lunar Eclipse?
An eclipse happens when Earth passes in front of the Sun and Moon. Sunlight can’t reach Moon, so it looks dark
There are two types of lunar eclipses: total lunar eclipses and partial lunar eclipses.
- A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon and the sun are on opposing sides of the Earth at the same time.
- When only a portion of the Earth’s shadow covers the moon, this is referred to as a partial lunar eclipse.
The moon can appear reddish during some stages of a lunar eclipse. This is because the only remaining sunlight reaching the Moon at that time comes from the Earth’s equator, as seen from the Moon’s surface. During an eclipse, an observer would be able to view all of Earth’s sunrises and sunsets
at the same time.
What Are Lunar Phases?
Our moon does not give off light, but rather reflects it. Sunlight illuminates the Moon in the same way it does on Earth during the day.
It’s simply that we can’t always have the ability to recognize it.
It is called a “new moon” when sunlight reaches the Moon’s aft side—the side we can’t see without a spaceship.
We refer to a full moon when the near side of the moon is illuminated by sunlight.
For the rest of the month, we are only able to glimpse a portion of the moon’s daytime side. The New Moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, and waning crescent are the eight phases of the Moon in that sequence. Once a month, the cycle repeats itself (every 29.5 days).
Understanding Lunar Eclipses
The Moon experiences a lunar eclipse when it travels through the Earth’s shadow, much as the Sun experiences a solar eclipse when it passes through the shadow of the Moon. Because the Moon’s orbit around the Earth is tilted relative to the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, this causes the Moon’s shadow to fall on Earth.
Though if that’s the possibility, why do eclipses occur at all?
The Moon’s orbital tilt changes with regard to the Sun during the year, even though it is fixed with regard to the stars. Because of this alignment, the Moon passes through Earth’s shadow twice a year.
The umbra, the deepest area of Earth’s shadow, is where the Moon appears to get its darkest. The Earth’s atmosphere scatters sunlight onto the moon, turning it a dull red until it is completely enclosed within the umbra.
Observing the eclipse from the moon’s surface, you’d see the sunset behind all of Earth, bathing you in a reddish glow. You’ll have to stay up late if you want to witness a lunar eclipse back home, but if you do, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of our own planet’s lengthy shadow on the Moon.
The Pop Culture
Since the first people gazed up at the sky and saw the grey, cratered surface of our lunar neighbor, it has inspired myths. The shape of a person’s face was seen among the craters by some viewers, prompting legends about a mystery “man on the moon.” Those who were hungrier compared the craters to cheese and fantasized about a full sphere consisting of delectable dairy goods.
“Le Voyage Dans la Lune,” a silent French film released in 1902, was the first picture to feature the Moon (“A Trip to the Moon”). “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), which was released a year before astronauts walked on the Moon, portrayed the story of astronauts on a lunar colony. It’s still considered one of the best science fiction films ever made, decades later.
Six US flags have been placed on the moon by American astronauts. However, this does not mean that the United States owns it. In fact, a 1967 international treaty says that no single government can own planets, stars, or other natural objects in space.
In our solar system, there are moons on most of the planets (and a few asteroids). One moon orbits the Earth. For a long time, we referred to it as “the Moon” because it was the only celestial body we were aware of. Our moon has enchanting names in a plethora of languages. In Italian, Latin, and Spanish, it is referred to as “Luna,” in French as “Lune,” in German as “Mond,” and in Greek as “Selene.”
In our solar system, the moon is like a vast, barren desert. Craters are holes in the surface caused by space objects slamming against it at tremendous speed. You can’t breathe on the moon since there is no atmosphere.
An oval-shaped orbit encircles the Moon as it revolves around the Earth. According to one theory, the Earth collided with a Mars-sized asteroid billions of years ago, and a satellite the size of the Moon was born.
The side of the moon we see from Earth is always the same. To see the opposite side, you’ll need to go to the far reaches of space.