Eleven Things You Didn’t Know About the Moon

Eleven Things You Didn't Know About the Moon
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As the supermoon approaches, its increasing brightness tends to catch our attention. The supermoon happens when the Moon is on the opposing side of Earth from the sun so that the sun’s light ultimately illuminates its face. Any day of the month, our Moon has some secrets up her sleeve. Here are eleven remarkable and strange facts about the Moon that may surprise you. Here are 11 things you didn’t know about the Moon.

  1. You can observe slightly more than half of the Moon from Earth.
  2. There are four kinds of lunar months.
  3. The first or last quarter Moon is not one half as bright as a supermoon.
  4. The first or last quarter Moon is not one half as bright as a supermoon.
  5. A 95-percent bright Moon appears half as radiant as a full Moon.
  6. Eclipses are reversed when observing from the Moon.
  7. The Earth, viewed from the Moon, too goes through phases.
  8. There are now rules for how the Moon’s craters are specified.
  9. The Moon has its own unique time zone.
  10. The Moon holds a considerable temperature range.
  11. Did you know – We still don’t know what causes this Moon Illusion.

How many rotations does the Moon have?

Most textbooks will see that because the Moon rotates only once throughout each revolution around the Earth, we never view more than half of its total surface. However, the truth is that we get to see more of it throughout its elliptical orbit—fifty-nine percent (almost three-fifths).

Our Moon’s rotation rate is uniform, but its speed of rotation is not, so we’re capable of seeing around the edge of each limb. So, the two motions do not keep perfectly in stride, even though they come out together at the end of the month. And this effect is called libration of longitude.

So, the Moon slightly “rocks” in the east and west direction, which allowed us to see much farther around in longitude at each edge than we could. The remaining forty-one percent can never be viewed from our vantage point. Therefore, if anyone were in that region of the Moon, they would never observe the Earth.

How many lunar months are there?

Our months match almost to the length of time it takes our only satellite to go through a full cycle of phases. Researchers have deduced that from excavated tally sticks. So, people from as early as the Paleolithic period counted days in relation to the Moon’s phases.

But there are truly four different sorts of lunar months. The durations listed here are means.

1. Nodical – It is time it takes our Moon to cross through one of its nodes where it passes the plane of the Earth’s orbit and returns to it: 27 days, 5 hours, 5 minutes, 35.9 seconds.

2. Anomalistic – The time it takes the Moon to orbit the Earth, measured from one perigee (it is the closest point in its orbit to Earth) to the next: 27 days, 13 hours, 18 minutes, 37.4 seconds.

3. Sidereal – The time it takes the Moon to orbit the Earth, applying the stars working as a perfect reference point: 27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes, 11.5 seconds.

4. Synodical – The time it takes the Moon to orbit the Earth, utilizing the sun as the reference point, the time lapse between two successive conjunctions with our sun – moving from new Moon to another new Moon in 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 2.7 seconds. This synodic month is the foundation of many calendars today and is applied to divide the year.

Supermoons or full Moon can look thirty percent brighter and up to fourteen percent more massive than regular full moons. Learn more about our supermoon here: Super Moon 2021 – New Strange Facts Revealed.

Why does the Moon appear a little darker in the last quarter?

The first or last quarter Moon is not one half as bright as a super moon.

So, if the lunar surface were like a smooth billiard ball, its exterior brightness would be the same. But in such a case, it would appear half as bright.

But our Moon has a slightly rough topography. Mainly near and along the terminator. The Moon’s landscape seems riddled with many shadows cast by boulders, mountains, and even tiny grains of Moondust

Furthermore, the lunar face is dotted with obscure regions. The final result is that the Moon appears only one-eleventh as bright as when it’s full in the first quarter. 

Our Moon is a little brighter in the first quarter than in the last quarter since, at that phase, some portions of the Moon reflect sunlight better than others.

It would take hundreds of thousands of our moons to match the brightness of the sun

The Super Moon illuminates with a magnitude of -12.7, but the sun is fourteen magnitudes brighter, at -26.7. 

And the ratio of light of the sun versus the Moon amounts to a diversity of 398,110 to 1. So, that’s how many supermoons you would need to match the brightness of the sun. 

The sky is 360 degrees throughout, including the half we can’t view, below the horizon. So, there are more than 41,200 square degrees in the sky. So, the Moon measures only a half degree across, giving it an area of just 0.2 square degrees. 

Furthermore, you could jam up the entire sky, including the half that lies beneath our feet, with 206,264 super moons and yet come up short by 191,836 to match the illumination of our sun.

A 95-percent bright moon appears half as radiant as a full moon

Furthermore, our Moon is half as bright as a super moon about 2.4 days before and after a super moon. About 95 percent of the Moon is illumined at this time, and to most casual observers, the Moon might still look like a super moon. Its illumination is approximately 0.7 magnitudes less than at full phase, making it look one-half as bright.

Eclipses are reversed when observing from the Moon

So, the phases aren’t the only circumstances that are seen in reverse from our Moon. An eclipse of our Moon for us is an eclipse of the sun from the Moon.  And in this case, the disk of our planet appears to block out the sun.  And if it totally blocks the sun, a thin ring of light surrounds Earth’s dark disk; our atmosphere is backlighted by our sun. 

Furthermore, the ring appears to have a ruddy hue since it’s the combined light of all the sunsets and sunrises and occurring at that moment. And that’s why during a total lunar eclipse, our Moon takes on a coppery or a ruddy glow. 

What is the name of the Moon’s shadow?

So, when a total eclipse of the sun is taking place here on Earth, an observer on the Moon can watch over two or three hours as a small, distinct patch of darkness works its way slowly across the Earth’s surface.

 So, it’s our Moon’s dark shadow, named the umbra, that falls on Earth, though unlike in a Moon eclipse, where the Earth’s shadow can completely engulf our satellite. Furthermore, the Moon’s shadow is shorter than a couple of hundred miles wide when it reaches the Earth, looking only as a dark blotch.

The Earth, viewed from the Moon goes through phases

Though, they are opposed to the Moon’s phases that we see from the Earth. It’s a full moon if it’s a new Moon for us; last-quarter Earth when we see a first-quarter moon; a crescent moon, a gibbous moon, and Earth in a new phase we see a full moon. 

From any place on the Moon (besides on the far side, where you cannot see the Earth), our planet would continuously be in the same place in the sky.

So, from the Moon, our planet appears nearly four times bigger than a super moon looks to us, and depending on the state of our atmosphere, it shines from 45 to 100 times brighter than a full moon. So, when a full Earth appears in the lunar sky, it illuminates the neighboring lunar landscape with a bluish-gray light.  

From here on our planet, we can see that luminosity when our Moon looks to us as a crescent; sunlight illuminates but a fragment of the Moon, while the rest of its frame is dimly apparent by virtue of earthlight. The famous Leonardo da Vinci was the first to figure out what ghostly glowing on the Moon was.

There are now rules for how the Moon’s craters are specified

The Moon’s craters were formed by comets and asteroids that hit the lunar surface. Approximately 300,000 craters wider than 1 km or 0.6 miles are considered to be on the Moon’s near side only. 

And these are named after scientists, scholars, artists, and famous explorers. For instance, Copernicus Crater was named after Nicolaus Copernicus. He was a Polish astronomer who understood in the 1500s that the planets move around the sun. 

And the Archimedes Crater is named after the famous Greek mathematician Archimedes, who made numerous mathematical discoveries in the third century B.C.

The practice of applying personal names to the Moon’s formations started in 1645 with Michael van Langren. He was an engineer in Brussels who named the Moon’s principal characteristics after famous kings and prominent people on Earth. 

Oceanus Procellarum

He named the most extensive lunar plain now known as Oceanus Procellarum after his patron, Phillip IV of Spain. 

So, just six years later, Giovanni Battista Riccioli of Bologna developed his great Moon map, which eliminated the names given by Van Langren and instead obtained names mainly from famous astronomers. 

It is the foundation of the system which remains to this day. In 1939, the British Astronomical Association published a catalog of officially named Moon formations. It’s called “Who’s Who on the Moon” and is listing the names of all lunar shapes adopted by the International Astronomical Union.

Today the International Astronomical Union continues to choose the names for craters on the Moon, accompanying names for all astronomical objects. 

The International Astronomical Union organizes the classification of each particular celestial feature around a specific theme. 

So, the names of craters now tend to fall into two groups. Moon craters have been named for deceased scholars, scientists, explorers, and famous artists who’ve become recognized for their respective disciplines’ contributions. 

The lunar craters around the Apollo crater and the Mare Moscoviense are going to be named after late American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts.

Has The Moon its own time zone?

It is now possible to tell time on the Moon. Back in 1970, Helbros Watches asked the famous Kenneth L. Franklin, who for many years was the leading astronomer at New York’s Hayden Planetarium, to create a watch for astronauts that could estimate time in what he called “lunations.” 

It is time it takes for our Moon to rotate and revolve around the Earth; each lunation is precisely 29.530589 Earth days.

For the Moon, Franklin developed a new system he termed “lunar mean solar time,” or L.T. (Lunar Time). He envisioned local lunar time zones comparable to the standard time zones on Earth but based on meridians twelve-degrees wide similar to the 15-degree periods on Earth. 

A lunar hour or Moon hour was defined as a “lunour,” and, centilunours, decilunours, and millilunours were also added.  

One lunar watch was sent to President Nixon, and another moon watch was kept in a showcase at the Hayden Planetarium for several years. 

Quite a few visitors would honestly question why Nixon was presented with a wristwatch that could be used only on the Moon.   

What is the Moon’s temperature range?

If you scan the Internet for temperature data on the Moon, you’re going to be quite uncertain. There’s little cohesion even looking within a given website where the temperature scale is quoted: Fahrenheit, Celsius, and even Kelvin. 

Here we opted to utilize the figures cited by NASA on its Website: The temperature at the Moons equator varies from an extremely low minus 280 degrees F or minus 173 degrees C at night to a high 260 degrees F or 127 degrees C during the daytime. 

In some deep lunar craters near the poles, the temperature is always near minus 400 degrees F or minus 240 degrees C.

And during a lunar eclipse, as the Moon passes into the Earth’s shadow, the lunar surface temperature can fall around 500 degrees F or 300 degrees C in less than 90 minutes.  

Did you know – We still don’t know what causes this Moon Illusion

Our Moon appears more substantial when you see it closer to the horizon. And it’s not an atmospheric consequence. So, when you take a picture of our Moon, it stays the same size, no matter where it is relative to the horizon. 

The Moon appears to be all in our heads. But just what is going on in our heads is still questioned. Some think that objects like trees and houses trick us into seeing our Moon as bigger when it’s closer to them, except that pilots are flying way up high and see this “moon illusion”.

One alternative solution that has been put forward is that our brains see the sky as a flatter dome than it is. So we’re wired to see something closer to the horizon as more prominent and more immense than something higher overhead. But no real answer has yet emerged on top, so there are a lot of possible explanations.

That’s it, and I hope you enjoyed this article about the sturdy and robust small creatures named tardigrade.

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