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Interesting Facts About the Moon

On most nights of the year, the sky is lit up by our nearest neighbor in space, the moon.
The Latin word for the moon is “Luna”. 
The word lunar means anything to do with the moon. The moon travels around the earth in just over 27 days.
Have you noticed that the moon seems to change shape as the month goes by? 
The moon does not give out its own light, but we can see it because it reflects sunlight. It also moves around the sun and, as it does, the sun's light falls on part of its surface.
The shape we see depends on how much of the moon's surface that faces us is lit up by the sun.
The changing shapes are called phases.
The moon has a much weaker gravity, or pull, than the earth. Because of this, it cannot hold on to any gases to make up an atmosphere.
Where there is no atmosphere, there can be no sound and no weather.

Phases of the moon

The moon's phases are caused by the position of the moon in relation to the sun and earth.
When the moon is between the earth and the sun, we can't see it at all.
We call it the new moon.
About a week later, we see half of it lit up.
This is the first quarter.
About a week later, all of it is lit up and it is the full moon.
 It is half lit up again at the last quarter, about a week later.
It eventually disappears at the next new moon, 29 1/2 days after the previous one.

As the moon changes from new moon to full moon, it is said to be waxing.
During the period from full moon back to new moon, it is said to be waning.
When the moon looks larger than half a full moon, it is called gibbous.

The moon's dimensions

Part of the surface of the moon consists of great, flat plains that are covered in dust.
The rest of the surface is made up of highlands and towering mountain ranges.

Some of the mountains soar to a height of over 23,100 feet (7,000 meters).
Everywhere on the surface there are craters, which are holes made by lumps of rock raining down from outer space.
The smaller craters are just a few inches wide, while others are great depressions or pits up to 700 miles (1,100 kilometers] across.
The moon is about a quarter the size of the earth. 
It measures 2,160 miles (3,476 kilometers) across.
The distance from the earth to the moon is about 238,857 miles (384,403 kilometers). 
We never see the far side of the moon from earth.
This is because the moon rotates on its axis in the same time it takes to circle the earth.
But we know what the far side of the moon looks like from photographs taken by satellites in space or by astronauts in their spacecraft.

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