Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Moon, My Man

Everybody loves the moon. It’s a proven fact. (Ok, not scientifically proven but still, ask most people and I'm willing to bet you’ll be hard-pressed to find much moon-hate circulating.) 

So, it’s agreed that the moon is hard not to like. Here are 10 facts we should probably know about the only celestial body besides Earth to get a visit from humans. (Alyssa/Chrissy insert your nerd jokes here.)

There is a man on the moon. Kind of. What we see from Earth that looks like a face is actually a bunch of impact basins filled with dark basalt rock, according to NASA. (NASA)

Twelve humans have walked on the moon. Neil Armstrong was the first, in 1969. Others include Buzz Aldrin, of course, and Alan Bean of Apollo 12. Weather-related fact about that mission: Lightning struck the spacecraft twice after launch, temporarily taking out power. (NASA)

The moon gets much hotter and much colder than Earth. It can get up 260 degrees Fahrenheit and down to minus-280 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the moon doesn’t have air around it, it’s much more prone to greater temperature extremes. (NASA)

It takes approximately a month for the moon to orbit Earth. The lunar being completes a full revolution in about 27 days, but it takes two more — for a total of 29.5 — to get to from one new moon to the next. (NASA)

Every full moon has a different name. In September we covered the Harvest Moon. Our favorites coming up: the Strawberry Moon (June), the Sturgeon Moon (August) and of course, the Thunder moon (July). (Atisgailis/Wikimedia Commons)

Even though an area is called the Sea of Tranquility, there are no seas on the moon. The misconception came from Galileo, the first person to study the night sky using a telescope. Even after this was disproved, the name simply stuck. (NASA)

The moon has gravity. That means that no objects won’t float up if you dropped them on the moon. “Because it has less mass than the Earth,” NASA notes, “it has 1/6 of Earth’s gravity at its surface.” (NASA)

While there is no weather on the moon, there is ice, and NASA thinks it came from comets. (NASA)

The moon isn’t perfectly round. Rather, it’s slightly egg-shaped, according to NASA, with the large end aimed toward Earth. (NASA)

No, the moon doesn’t actually become larger on the horizon. That’s an optical illusion — referred to as the moon illusion — that plays a trick on your eyes. (NASA)

PS I'm going to see a real, live astronaut speak on Friday if anyone is interested...
SPACE! (said with jazz hands)

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