Facts about Moon for Kids
Looking up in the sky at night, what do you see? The stars, a shooting star perhaps, and the moon. Have you ever stopped for a moment to think about this wondrous sight?
Today we look at the moon, what it really is, how it came to be, and many more facts you will find interesting. Let’s get started.
1. Moon is Earth’s only natural satellite
The moon is a satellite and is egg-shaped. It is the only natural satellite the earth has. A natural satellite is a space body that goes round a planet, an object resembling a planet or an asteroid.
It has a rugged surface that is dusty and rocky because meteors kept slamming on it more than three and a half billion years ago. Its surface is composed of craters, mountains, valleys, and lava plains. You can actually see this surface clearly through a telescope.
2. How was the moon created
The moon’s history is quite interesting.
It is believed that it was formed when a huge object knocked our planet earth releasing chips of rocks that joined and started going round the earth. With time, they melted together and cooled to form the moon. This happened 4.5 billion years ago. So the moon might just as well be as old as the universe.
3. It shines by reflecting Sun’s light
If you have seen the moon at night, it is usually large, sometimes round, and very bright. The sun plays an important role. It lights both the earth and the moon.
The moon reflects the light that it receives from the sun. Did you know that the moon only reflects between 3% and 12% of the light it receives from the sun? How bright would it be if it reflected all the light it gets? We could probably be having no nights!
4. Moon revolves around the Earth in 29 days or about a month
If you are on earth like I am, you can only see one side of the moon.
The moon goes round the earth every 29 days. It takes around the same time to spin on its own axis. Meaning that you never really get to see the entire moon, the most we can see is 60% or 50% of its surface.
5. Moon’s surface is rugged
Both the earth and the moon were slammed by meteors, giving them a rough surface. The earth has wind, weather, and atmosphere or air but the moon doesn’t. These are responsible for smoothing the surface of the earth. Since the moon doesn’t have weather, air, or wind, its surface has remained rugged.
6. The Phases of the moon
Sometimes at night, you won’t see a full moon but only fractions of it. This is because as the moon goes round the sun, depending on its position, we can only see the part that the sun shines on. The different portions of the moon that we see almost every month are known as phases.
There are eight phases of the moon.
- The new moon – This is when we cannot see the moon at all and the night is dark save for the small glittery glows of the stars.
- The waxing crescent – Waxing means growing. you will see a crescent shaped moon facing left if you are in the northern hemisphere or right if you are I the southern hemisphere.
- The first quarter – this is when you can see a half of the moon.
- The waxing Gibbous –when you see ¾ of the moon.
- The full moon – when you can see the entire phase on the moon and the night is usually bright.
- The Waning Gibbous – when you can see ¾ of the moon again.
- The last quarter – when you can see ½ of the moon again.
- The Waning crescent – when you see the crescent again facing the opposite side of the first one you saw.
It has very little air or wind
Quite interestingly, the moon has no global magnetic field. Compared to the earth, the moon’s gravity is about 1/6 that of the earth.
Because the moon doesn’t have air or wind, it has extremely varying temperatures at between 300oF or above during the moon day and -270oF during the moon night. No human being can live on the moon because of lack of air and extreme temperature.
Did you know that the foot print of Neil Armstrong, the first person to land on the moon on 21st July 1969, is still there today and will not be rubbed off in the next 10 million years?
The Size of the moon
The moon has 2159 miles (3476 km) diameter. Compared to the earth it is much smaller.
It is the fifth largest compared to other moons in the solar system.
Distance from the earth
The moon is 239,000miles (384,000km) from the earth.
The Seas of the moon
If you look at the moon when it is almost full, it usually has some dark patches called the seas. These are not the normal water seas that we know but large patches of dark lava.
These seas have Latin names such as Mare Frigoris meaning sea of cold and Mare Serenitatis meaning sea of serenity.
What does the moon have to do with the Eclipse
A lunar eclipse is experienced when the earth is between the sun and the moon. A total lunar eclipse is sometimes called the blood moon because of the reddish color seen when the light of the sun is seen through the earth’s shadow.
The earth’s Tides are caused by the moon.
As the moon goes round the earth, the earth experiences the moon’s gravity pull on the side that faces the moon. This is what causes high tides on the waters surfaces like that of the ocean.
So how about understanding why the moon is called moon. The moon gets its name from the old English word mona and Latin word mensis. The word moon and month actually have the same origin as it takes 29 days for the moon to go through all its phases and these are the same days that make a month.
Resources and References
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon – Information about Moon on Wikipedia
2. http://www.space.com/55-earths-moon-formation-composition-and-orbit.html – Moon facts from Space.com
3. http://lunarexploration.esa.int/ – Interactive