Although it is one of the largest moons in the solar system, our Moon is smaller than all planets except Pluto. Even so, it is so big that if it orbited the Sun instead of the Earth we would call it a ‚Äúsmall planet‚ÄĚ and not the Moon, but the truth is that the Moon orbits the Earth, just like the space shuttle and thousands of other satellites.

The size and distance of the Moon contribute to a wonderful coincidence for those of us who live here on Earth. The Moon is about four hundred times smaller than the Sun, but it is also about four hundred times closer. The result is that from Earth they appear to be the same size, and when their orbit around Earth brings the Moon directly between Earth and the Sun, the Moon blocks our view of the Sun in what we call a “solar eclipse . This is more or less the same as when you use your thumb to block the view of something that is much larger and that is much further away, such as in travel photos.

To better imagine this, think of the Earth as the size of a basketball. Then the Moon would be about the size of an apple, and the Sun would be a ball as big as a 10-story building located more than 3 kilometers away.



Other curiosities about the Moon

  • To cover the distance between the Earth and the Moon, the Apollo astronauts needed about 4 days. Unlike the Earth, the Moon does not have air or water like our planet (although some thin watery sheets were found about ten years ago), and without them living there would be impossible for us. So the astronauts had to bring their own air and water to make the trip to the Moon and to be able to return.
  • Scientists have learned a lot about the Moon from the experiments the astronauts left there and the rock and soil samples they brought back. Robotic missions that have orbited, landed, and even returned samples from the Moon have also contributed greatly to our understanding of our neighbor in space.
  • By studying the darkest and lightest regions that we can see on the Moon , scientists discovered that they are made of different materials on the surface, just as the Earth is covered with different types of materials in different places.


What is amazing all we know about the Moon? Well make sure you have time, one day, to go out and be able to contemplate the Moon in the open air, that Moon that has inspired so many scientists, writers, artists. Who knows … you might discover something new and exciting!



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