What are some amazing moons

moon

Properties of the moon

The moon is the celestial body that is closest to the earth. The mean distance between the moon and earth is around 384,400 kilometers. Compared to Earth, however, the moon is significantly smaller - its diameter is just under a quarter and it is 81 times lighter.

Due to the lower mass, the force of gravity is also significantly weaker. Therefore, astronauts on the moon weigh only one sixth of their earth weight. This has a particular effect on their locomotion: on the moon they can jump six times higher, but also run only six times slower.

If you land on the moon, you will find a desolate desert landscape, which consists mainly of fine gray dust. It is very hot during the day, the stones can heat up to 110 degrees Celsius. At night, on the other hand, the temperature drops to minus 170 degrees Celsius within a few seconds.

Even if the expression "moonlight" suggests it: The moon does not emit its own light. Its glow is created by reflecting the sunlight. From the earth you can only see the part illuminated by the sun. The individual phases of lighting are called new moon, full moon, waxing and waning moon.

mountains and valleys

The lunar surface is littered with craters, reefs, mountains and valleys. Scientists from the US space agency NASA mapped the planet to within five meters as early as 1966. Subsequent missions in 1994 and 1999 had the task of producing even more precise maps of the surface.

There are primarily two different types of landscape on the moon: the mountain regions furrowed by craters and the relatively flat seas. Most of the craters on the lunar surface were caused by boulders from space that hit the surface three to four billion years ago.

The Italian researcher Giovanni Battista Riccioli called the darker areas of the moon "mare" (seas). These so-called lunar seas make up about 16 percent of the surface and consist of lava that flowed from the interior of the moon about three billion years ago. The first lunar missions also appreciated the relatively flat seas: Apollo 11 landed in the "sea of ​​calm".

The moon always turns the same side to the earth. In 1959, the Russian Luna 3 space probe photographed the far side for the first time, and it turned out that the rear side had significantly more craters.

Life on the moon?

Even if the first land on the moon has already been sold: The living conditions for people on the moon are extremely poor. There is no atmosphere, because the moon's slight gravitational pull is not enough to hold an atmosphere like that on earth.

For a long time, scientists were also interested in the question of the existence of water on the moon. The Indian Chandrayaan-1 space probe provided the crucial data during its mission. She found large amounts of water, especially on the polar ice caps. Scientists had previously been able to detect traces of water in soil samples and in the lunar rocks.

Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was the first person to point a telescope at the moon. In 1609 he saw highlands, seas and - especially along the sharp day and night border of the crescent moon - craters. The physicist, mathematician and astronomer revolutionized the prevailing view at the time that the moon was a smooth, perfect surface.

Many people have been unwilling to accept this amazing news for a long time. A little later, Galileo Galilei made another discovery that was to be his undoing: He found out that three small moons also revolve around the planet Jupiter.

Through these discoveries with the telescope, he took sides with Nicolaus Copernicus' view of the world. He had recognized that the earth is not the center of the planetary system.

As a supporter of Copernicus, Galileo Galilei fell into the clutches of the Inquisition, who tried him. Although he was a believer, Galileo did not want to retract his knowledge. In 1633, however, he had to renounce his theory in a spectacular process in order to avoid the stake.

His persistence made him a symbolic figure in the struggle for a scientific worldview.

The moon is moving away

Each year, the moon moves about 3.8 centimeters away from the earth. This phenomenon has to do with the strong attractive effect that the moon exerts on the earth. This attraction creates the tides - ebb and flow.

The moon not only moves the water masses, but also the land masses. The deformation of the earth and corresponding variations in the earth's gravitational field lead to an exchange of angular momentum. The earth continuously loses angular momentum and thus rotational energy, while the moon gains angular momentum and rotational energy from the earth to the same extent and moves further away from it on its orbit.