Every once in a while if you’re in an open space, you can catch the two-to-three-minute interval where the sun is setting in the West and the moon is rising in the East directly opposite each other like a mirror image, and both are so huge and so orange you can’t tell the difference. We’d love to explain the science behind when exactly that happens but we have no idea. You just have to get lucky. But here are a few things about the moon we do know…
The moon is actually egg-shaped, with the pointed end facing Earth.
A full moon occurs when sun, moon and Earth are aligned in a straight line with our planet in the middle. Tides are at their highest during a full moon.
A lunar cycle is 29.5 days. The second full moon occurring within a calendar month is called a Blue Moon. A Blue Moon occurs once every three years, on average.
The only month that can occur without a full moon is February.
Thousands of revelers gather each month on the beach at Koh Phangan in Thailand to celebrate the full moon.
The dark spots on the full moon that create the man in the moon image are actually basins filled up to five miles deep with basalt. Others are actually patches of frozen lava and rugged mountains. In China, the man in the moon is considered a toad.
The full moon is at its highest altitude from Earth during the winter season.
The honeymoon is named after the full moon in June. Because it fell between the planting and harvesting of crops, this was traditionally considered the best month to get married.
Twelve men have walked the moon’s surface.
The moon is 225,745 miles from Earth and weighs 81 quintillion tons.
The day temperature on the moon is 273 degrees Fahrenheit. At night the temperature drops to -224 degrees.
If you could drive to the moon, it would take 135 days by car, traveling at 70 mph.
The age of oldest rock collected on the moon is 4.5 billion years old.
The deepest craters on the moon are 15,000 feet deep and the highest mountains soar to 16,000 feet.
The moon is moving away from Earth at a rate of 1.5 inches per year.
Only about 59 percent of the moon’s surface is visible from Earth
Earth rotates at about 1,000 mph. The moon rotates at about 10 mph.
You can see 400 years of moon phases at home.hiwaay.net/~krcool/Astro/moon/moonviewer. Find out your moon weight at www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/weight
Dr. Eugene Shoemaker, a geological surveyor, who educated the Apollo mission astronauts about craters, never made it into space due to medical reasons. After he died, his ashes were placed on board the Lunar Prospector spacecraft on Jan. 6, 1999, which was crashed into a crater on the moon on July 31 that year.
Neil Armstrong’s historical step left a footprint in moon dust that will be there for at least 10 million years. The volume of Earth’s moon is the same as the volume of the Pacific Ocean.
Nuclear weapons and military installations of any kind are banned on the moon.