Nine World Facts About the Moon | Jeremy Spell Blog

Harvest moon, blue moon, full moon,
crescent moon - there’s something romantic
about the lovely Moon.
Here are some staggering facts about our
benevolent protector in the night sky.
1. The Moon isn’t a sphere
The Moon’s egg-shaped. When you look at it,
you are actually looking at one of the small
ends. And it’s wonky - its centre of mass is
not right in the geometric centre, it’s 1.2
miles off the centre.
2. We’re never seeing all of it
At any one time we are only seeing 59% of
the Moon. The remaining 41% can never be
seen from Earth. And if you don’t believe us,
if you went up to space and stood on the
hidden 41% you wouldn’t be able to see the
3. The Blue Moon was the result of a volcano
The term ‘blue moon’ is believed to have
originated in 1883 after the eruption of
Krakatoa. So much dust floated in the
atmosphere that when you looked at it, the
Moon looked blue. Obviously this was so
unusual the phrase “once in a blue moon”
indicates something that happens very
4. Blowing up the Moon
The U.S. seriously contemplated detonating a
nuclear weapon on the Moon. The idea was
that this would be a show of strength that
would allow the U.S. to flex its military
muscle in front of the Russians and
intimidate them into backing down. The
secret project was named 'A Study of Lunar
Research Flights’, or 'Project A119’.
5. Eclipse caused by a dragon
An ancient Chinese belief dictates that a
solar eclipse was caused by a dragon
swallowing the sun. In response, they made
as much noise as possible during an eclipse
to frighten the dragon away. They also
believed that a huge toad lived on the Moon,
sitting in a crater. The Moon’s craters are
actually caused by space rocks bashing into
it around 4.1 billion years ago.
6. The Moon is slowing us down
When the Moon is closest to Earth, what’s
called its perigee, spring tides are higher.
These are called perigean spring tides. Some
of the rotational energy of the Earth is stolen
by the Moon, and that is causing Earth to
slow down by around 1.5 milliseconds every
7. The light of the Moon
The sun is 14 magnitudes brighter than the
full moon. For a full moon to shine with the
same brightness as the sun, you’d need
398,110 Moons. During a lunar eclipse when
the Moon moves into the Earth's shadow,
the surface temperature of the Moon can
drop around 500 degrees Fahrenheit in less
than 90 minutes.
8. Leonardo da Vinci realised what the
crescent was
When the Moon appears as a crescent, what
we’re seeing is sunlight illuminating a sliver
of the Moon. The rest of the Moon is only
very dimly visible depending on weather
conditions. Leonardo da Vinci was the first
recorded person to realise that the Moon
was not shrinking and expanding, some of
it was just hidden.
9. Naming the Moon
The International Astronomical Union names
Moon craters, and all other astronomical
objects. Moon craters are generally given the
names of notable scientists, artists or
explorers. The craters around the Apollo
crater and the Mare Moscoviense are named
after American astronauts and Russian
There’s so much we don’t know about the
Moon. But we know more than these
people: in a survey conducted in 1988, 13%
of those surveyed by the Lowell Observatory
of Flagstaff, Arizona, believed that the Moon
was made of cheese. In 1988. We’ll just
leave that there.

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