The moon is so beautiful and we are lucky to see it every night. Have you ever wondered, how far is the moon from earth?
The moon’s gravitational interaction with Earth causes ocean tides, rising sea levels, and the formation of ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream.
It is the fifth-largest natural satellite in the Solar System.
How Far is the Moon From Earth?
The moon is about 238,900 miles or 384,400 kilometers from Earth.
How Did the Moon Form?
Most scientists believe the Moon formed due to a collision between Earth and another planet-sized object approximately 4.5 billion years ago.
There are two prevailing theories as to how this collision occurred.
One theory is that the young Earth and a protoplanet (a very large body in its early stages of formation) collided.
The energy from this impact caused material that would eventually coalesce into the Moon to be thrown out into space. This material then re-accreted to form the Moon.
This theory is supported by computer simulations, which show an impact large enough to eject sufficient Earth material to form a satellite.
The other theory proposes that Earth’s formation started with a collision between large masses of rock, ice, and metal, creating a cloud of debris that eventually coalesced into the Moon.
This theory is supported by its ability to account for certain aspects of the Moon’s geochemistry and petrology, its close orbit around Earth, and composition.
The lack of significant impact craters on the far side suggests that the Moon’s crust is much younger than its mantle.
This is consistent with either hypothesis: it should have retained most of the original impact record if it formed from a single large impact.
What is the Moon Made Of?
According to NASA, the moon is made of rock, dust, and metal. According to scientists, the moon is mostly composed of two types of rock: anorthosite and basalt.
The moon is pockmarked with craters, but it wasn’t always that way.
About 4.5 billion years ago, a Mars-sized object hit Earth and bounced back into space. Scientists believe the resulting debris formed the moon.
The moon’s surface is covered in dust, and samples returned during Apollo missions suggest that this dust may be the remnants of the ancient lunar crust.
A few metal-rich areas exist on the lunar surface, like the Sea of Tranquility and the Mare Ingenii (Sea of Cleverness), but rare.
How Long Does the Moon take to Orbit Earth?
The moon orbits our planet approximately every 27.3 days. That’s the time it takes for our moon to make one full orbit around Earth and back.
This is a long time compared to how long it takes most other objects to orbit Earth since our moon is pretty big.
For comparison, it takes the International Space Station (a spacecraft that flies in orbit around Earth) about 90 minutes to go around once.
How Far from Earth Is the Moon?
The moon revolves around the Earth in an elliptical orbit, and its distance from Earth can vary.
The closest it can get to Earth is 221,567 miles (356,575 kilometers), while the farthest it can be is 252,088 miles (405,696 kilometers).
That’s a difference of 30,521 miles (49,009 kilometers) throughout its orbit!
The Effect of The Moon on Tides
Traditional wisdom holds that the moon is responsible for the tides, but in reality, it’s just a little more complicated than that.
What causes tides? The moon does affect tides, but the sun and Earth’s rotation amplifies that effect.
When the sun and Earth line up, the moon’s gravity pulls on both bodies, causing two bulges of water to form. One bulge leads to extra high tide.
The distance between Earth and the moon varies over time; there’s less gravitational pull on Earth when they’re closest together.
This means that tides near new moons are often lower than average. The opposite occurs when they are farthest apart: a “full moon.”
Because of this, high tides are higher during full moons than on average!
What’s the Dark Side of the Moon?
There is no dark side to the moon. As the phenomenon of an eclipse has taught us, Earth’s moon rotates as it orbits our planet, meaning that one-half of its surface is never exposed to sunlight.
The far side of the moon—that part of the lunar satellite that cannot be seen from Earth—is more commonly known as “the dark side.”
But according to a recent announcement by China’s National Space Administration, no longer will we have to use this colloquial term to describe the unknown aspect of our natural satellite.
China has become the first to land an object on the moon’s far side.
This will not only help them maintain their reputation for being at the forefront of space exploration, but it will also provide them with valuable information about the Moon’s gravitational field and how it affects objects in orbit around it.
By reaching out into space in new ways, China shows us that there is still so much left to explore.
Does Earth Always See Only One Side of the Moon?
Earth always sees the same side of the moon because of something known as tidal locking.
This is caused by the gravitational pull between Earth and the moon, which causes one side of the moon to face Earth.
This same gravitational pull causes lunar tides on Earth, which also causes ocean tides to occur.
Will We Always See the Moon?
It’s a question that has plagued scientists for decades. After all, the moon is only about 4.5 billion years old, relatively young in comparison to Earth’s lifespan.
It’s possible that it could erode into space or perhaps be swallowed by the Earth itself.
A new study, however, may have put those fears to rest. The study indicates that the moon isn’t going anywhere anytime soon—at least not on its own.
Rather, it will more likely be pushed out of orbit by another celestial body (most likely an asteroid) before hurtling out of existence entirely.
The moon is a celestial body that orbits the earth, providing light during the night and appearing as a bright orb in the sky.
The moon has been observed since prehistoric times and was responsible for cycles of plant growth and phases of the ocean.
It is currently thought that humans evolved due to the moon’s gravitational effects on the development of early organisms.
The first spacecraft to land on the moon was Apollo 11 in 1969, which was accomplished by using a lunar module to decelerate while hovering above its surface before landing.
Twelve astronauts have walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972. The last person to set foot on the lunar surface was Eugene Cernan in 1972.