The Moon

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Earth's Satellite

The Moon is the Earth's only natural satellite (you might not be used to hearing the word "satellite" like this, but in fact its definition is: "A celestial body, or object in space, that orbits around a larger body"). Most astronomers believe that the Moon was formed about 4.51 billion years ago--about 30 million years after the Earth--as the result of a massive impact between the Earth and a planet-sized asteroid, known as Theia. The moon is about 3,474 km in diameter, which is just less than a quarter of Earth's 12,742 km diameter, and orbits at a distance from earth of 384,400 km.

Cool Facts About The Moon

  • The Moon isn't the only moon in the solar system. As of 2019, more than 200 moons have been discovered (Jupiter has 67 known moons and Saturn 62).
  • The moon has mountains, just like Earth. The tallest is Mons Huygens, which, at about 4,700 m tall, is about half the height of Mt. Everest (8,848).
  • Because the moon itself rotates as it orbits Earth, only 60% of its surface is ever visible from the Earth. That is why there is a far side, or, dark side, of the moon.
  • In fact, however, the far side of the moon is illuminated by the Sun just as much as the near side.


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