Quick Moon Facts
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.
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
|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 Moon||2009 Full Moon||2010 New Moon||2010 Full Moon|
|January 26, 09:55||January 11, 05:27||January 15, 09:11||January 30, 08:18|
|February 25, 03:35||February 09, 16:49||February 14, 04:51||February 28, 18:38|
|March 26, 18:06||March 11, 04:38||March 15, 23:01||March 30, 04:25|
|April 25, 05:23||April 09, 16:56||April 14, 14:29||April 28, 14:18|
|May 24, 14:11||May 09, 06:01||May 14, 03:04||May 28, 01:07|
|June 22, 21:35||June 07, 20:12||June 12, 13:15||June 26, 13:30|
|July 22, 04:35||July 07, 11:21||July 11, 21:40||July 26, 03:37|
|August 20, 12:02||August 06, 02:55||August 10, 05:08||August 24, 19:05|
|September 18, 20:44||September 04, 18:03||September 08, 12:30||September 23, 11:17|
|October 18, 07:33||October 04, 08:10||October 07, 20:44||October 23, 03:36|
|November 16, 21:14||November 02, 21:14||November 06, 06:52||November 21, 19:27|
|December 16, 14:02||December 02, 09:30||December 05, 19:36||December 21, 10:13|
|December 31, 21:13|
Phases of the Moon: 2011-2012
|2011 New Moon||2011 Full Moon||2012 New Moon||2012 Full Moon|
|January 04, 11:03||January 19, 23:21||January 23, 09:39||January 09, 09:30|
|February 03, 04:31||February 18, 10:36||February 22, 00:35||February 07, 23:54|
|March 04, 22:46||March 19, 20:10||March 22, 16:37||March 08, 11:39|
|April 03, 16:32||April 18, 04:44||April 21, 09:18||April 06, 21:19|
|May 03, 08:51||May 17, 13:09||May 21, 01:47||May 06, 05:35|
|June 01, 23:03||June 15, 22:14||June 19, 17:02||June 04, 13:12|
|July 01, 10:54||July 15, 08:40||July 19, 06:24||July 03, 20:52|
|July 30, 20:40||August 13, 20:57||August 17, 17:54||August 02, 05:27|
|August 29, 05:04||September 12, 11:27||September 16, 04:11||August 31, 15:58|
|September 27, 13:09||October 12, 04:06||October 15, 14:02||September 30, 05:19|
|October 26, 21:56||November 10, 22:16||November 14, 00:08||October 29, 21:49|
|November 25, 08:10||December 10, 16:36||December 13, 10:42||November 28, 16:46|
|December 24, 20:06||December 28, 12:21|
(Times are given in SAST, which is UT+2)
nothing more to see. please move along.