Quick Moon Facts

posted: 3254 days ago, on Sunday, 2008 Oct 26 at 12:28
tags: Moon, outreach.

There are at least 160 moons in our solar system, but the Moon, or Luna, Selene, is our planet Earth's only natural satellite.

The Moon is a round rocky body about 3,476km in diameter. In comparison, the Earth is about 50 times bigger (12,756km in diameter). The Earth is also a lot more interesting, mainly because it has an atmosphere, which allowed life to evolve on the planet's surface.

If you peeled the Moon like an apple and stuck the bits onto the Earth, it would just cover Africa.

The Moon is about 400,000 km away from the Earth, and is stuck in an orbit around our planet, taking one mo(o)nth to go all the way around. If you could drive to the Moon in a fast racing car (say at 250 km/h) it would take two months of non-stop driving to get there.

Together, the Earth and Moon go around the Sun, our nearest star, once a year. The Sun lies about 150 million km away from us.

The Moon is often thought of as being lifeless and cold. This is only two-thirds correct. The Moon is, in fact, lifeless, cold, and hot. The Moon receives as much light from the Sun as the Earth, but without an atmosphere to regulate things, the daytime temperature soars to 130C and plummets to -170C at night.

The first human to set foot on the Moon was Neil Armstrong (on 21 July 1969). The last human to step off the Moon was Eugene Cernan (on 14 December 1972).

If you shrink the Earth to the size of your head, then the Moon is about the size of your eye, and orbits your head at a distance of six metres. The Sun would be 2.5 km away, a massively hot 20 metre diameter sphere of nuclear explosions.

The Moon by any other name would be equally bright

Maan (Afrikaans), iNyanga (Xhosa), iNyanga (Zulu), Maan (Dutch)

Luna (Spanish), Luna (Russian), Luna (Italian), Lune (French)

Mond (German), Amar (Arabic), Mesec (Serbian), Lua (Portuguese)

Mesic (Czech), Mesiac (Slovak), Mahina (Hawaiian), Hold (Hungarian)

Kuu (Finnish), Tungl (Icelandic), Bulan (Indonesian), Ay (Turkish)

Sequence of moon phases

phasedescription
 
 
New Moon:rises at dawn, sets at sunset. Not visible, too near the Sun. Potential for a solar eclipse.
First Quarter:rises at noon, sets at midnight. Visible late afternoon and in the evening. High at sunset. Lies 90° from the Sun.
Full Moon:rises at sunset, sets at dawn. Visible all night. Highest at midnight. Lies opposite the Sun. Potential for a lunar eclipse.
Last Quarter:rises at midnight, sets at noon. Visible in the second half of the night and early morning. High at dawn. Lies 90° from the Sun.
 

Phases of the Moon: 2009-2010

2009 New Moon2009 Full Moon2010 New Moon2010 Full Moon
 
 
January 26, 09:55January 11, 05:27January 15, 09:11January 30, 08:18
February 25, 03:35February 09, 16:49February 14, 04:51February 28, 18:38
March 26, 18:06March 11, 04:38March 15, 23:01March 30, 04:25
April 25, 05:23April 09, 16:56April 14, 14:29April 28, 14:18
May 24, 14:11May 09, 06:01May 14, 03:04May 28, 01:07
June 22, 21:35June 07, 20:12June 12, 13:15June 26, 13:30
July 22, 04:35July 07, 11:21July 11, 21:40July 26, 03:37
August 20, 12:02August 06, 02:55August 10, 05:08August 24, 19:05
September 18, 20:44September 04, 18:03September 08, 12:30September 23, 11:17
October 18, 07:33October 04, 08:10October 07, 20:44October 23, 03:36
November 16, 21:14November 02, 21:14November 06, 06:52November 21, 19:27
December 16, 14:02December 02, 09:30December 05, 19:36December 21, 10:13
December 31, 21:13
 

Phases of the Moon: 2011-2012

2011 New Moon2011 Full Moon2012 New Moon2012 Full Moon
 
 
January 04, 11:03January 19, 23:21January 23, 09:39January 09, 09:30
February 03, 04:31February 18, 10:36February 22, 00:35February 07, 23:54
March 04, 22:46March 19, 20:10March 22, 16:37March 08, 11:39
April 03, 16:32April 18, 04:44April 21, 09:18April 06, 21:19
May 03, 08:51May 17, 13:09May 21, 01:47May 06, 05:35
June 01, 23:03June 15, 22:14June 19, 17:02June 04, 13:12
July 01, 10:54July 15, 08:40July 19, 06:24July 03, 20:52
July 30, 20:40August 13, 20:57August 17, 17:54August 02, 05:27
August 29, 05:04September 12, 11:27September 16, 04:11August 31, 15:58
September 27, 13:09October 12, 04:06October 15, 14:02September 30, 05:19
October 26, 21:56November 10, 22:16November 14, 00:08October 29, 21:49
November 25, 08:10December 10, 16:36December 13, 10:42November 28, 16:46
December 24, 20:06December 28, 12:21
 

(Times are given in SAST, which is UT+2)

nothing more to see. please move along.