14Jul2016

Checkout These Amazing Moon Facts

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‘Twin’ Planet

Most people think the Moon is, well, a moon, but there is some talk that it should actually be classified as a planet. For one, it’s far too big to be a “true” moon.

Being about one-fourth of the diameter of Earth, it is easily the biggest moon in relation to its planet in our solar system. (Pluto has a moon called Charon that is half its diameter in size, but since Pluto isn’t a real planet anymore, it doesn’t count.)

Because of its large size, the Moon doesn’t actually orbit Earth at all. Instead, Earth and Moon orbit each other, around a point between them. This point is called a barycenter, and the illusion the Moon is actually orbiting Earth comes from the fact that the barycenter is currently located inside the Earth’s crust. The fact that the barycenter remains inside the Earth is pretty much the only reason Earth and Moon aren’t classified as a twin planet, instead of a planet and its satellite. However, this may change in the future.

Moon Trash

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Everybody knows that man has been on the Moon, but not everyone is aware that he treated the place like a picnic area. Over time, the astronauts who visited the Moon managed to leave quite a bit of trash behind. It is estimated that there’s 181,437 kilograms (about 400,000 lbs) of man-made materials lying around the Moon.

Don’t worry, though—it’s not as if the astronauts have been purposely littering the place and throwing sandwich wrappers and banana peels everywhere. Most of that garbage is debris from various experiments, space probes and lunar rovers. Some of it is, in fact, still functional today. There is also some real trash, however, such as astronaut poop containers. Gross.

The Moon Is A Burial Ground

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Eugene “Gene” Shoemaker, a famous astronomer and geologist, was something of a legend in his field. He invented the scientific research of cosmic impacts and came up with the methods and techniques that Apollo astronauts used to research the Moon.

Shoemaker wanted to be an astronaut himself, but was turned down because of a minor medical issue. Throughout his life, this remained his biggest disappointment. Still, hoping against hope, Shoemaker kept on dreaming that he would some day visit the Moon. When he died, NASA fulfilled his most precious wish and sent his ashes to the Moon with the Lunar Prospector in 1998. His ashes remain there, scattered among moon dust.

Moon Dust

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Photo credit: NASA

One of the Moon’s most surprising dangers is lunar dust. As everyone knows, sand gets everywhere even on Earth, but on the Moon, it is downright hazardous. Lunar dust is as fine as flour, yet extremely rough. Thanks to this texture and the Moon’s low gravity, it clings absolutely everywhere.

NASA has experienced numerous problems caused by moon dust. It has eroded astronauts’ boots almost completely through and sandpapered their visors. It has traveled inside the ships with the space suits and caused “moon hay fever” in the poor astronauts that have inhaled it. It’s thought that prolonged exposure to the stuff could even cause airlocks to fail and space suits to break down.

And in case you were wondering: Yes, of course this devilish substance smells like spent gunpowder.

Difficulties With Low Gravity

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Photo credit: Discovery Enterprise

Although the gravity on the Moon is only one-sixth of that on Earth, moving on its surface is by no means an easy feat. Buzz Aldrin says the Moon was actually an extremely difficult environment to move in. The space suits were clumsy and their feet sank in the moon dust for up to 15 centimeters (6 in).

Despite the low gravity, a person’s inertia (resistance to changes in movement) on the Moon is high, so things got difficult if they wanted to move fast or change directions. If the astronauts wanted to go any faster than slow walking, they had to move in clumsy kangaroo-like bounds. This presented another problem, because the terrain is full of craters and other tripping hazards.

 The Moon’s Origin

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Where did the Moon come from? The short answer is that we don’t really know. However, science is able to hazard a few educated guesses.

There are five main theories about the origin of the Moon. The Fission Theory argues that the Moon used to be a part of our planet that was separated at some very early point of Earth’s history. This would make the Moon part to what is currently the Pacific Ocean basin. The Capture Theory says that the Moon was just wandering the universe until our gravitational field caught it. Other theories say our satellite was either condensed from a bunch of asteroids or the remains of Earth’s collision with an unknown Mars-sized planet.

Currently, the most likely candidate for the Moon’s origin story is the Ejected Ring Theory, which is better known as Giant Impact Theory. According to this version, a protoplanet (a planet that is forming) called Theia collided with Earth. The ensuing cloud of debris eventually condensed into the Moon.

The Moon And Sleep

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The Moon’s effects on Earth and vice versa cannot be denied. However, its effects on humans remain a source of constant debate. Many believe that the full moon brings out the strangest behavior in people, although science hasn’t been able to offer conclusive proof about this. There is one thing science has been able to confirm, though: There’s a very good chance that the moon could disturb our sleep cycle.

According to a volunteer-based experiment by the University of Basel in Switzerland, the phases of the moon affect—and disturb—human sleep cycles in a clearly measurable way, and the absolute worst night’s sleep is usually had during the full moon. If accurate, this find could very well explain the whole full moon madness theory: If no one can catch a good night’s sleep during the full moon, it makes sense that time would see quite a lot more strange things than your average night.

Moon Shadows

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Photo credit: NASA

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first walked the alien landscape of the Moon, they soon made a jarring discovery: The shadows of the Moon were far darker than those on Earth due to the lack of atmosphere. Everything the Sun didn’t shine directly on was pitch black. Once their foot stepped in a shadow, they could not see it anymore despite the fact that the Sun was blazing in the sky.

Although they soon found they could adjust to the shadows, the constant contrast between dark shadowy areas and sunny ones remained a challenge. Things got even stranger when they noticed that some of the shadows—namely, their own—had halos. They later learned eerie experience was caused by the opposition effect, a phenomenon that makes certain dark, shadowed areas appear surrounded by a bright aureole when they’re viewed in a certain angle to the Sun.

The shadows of the Moon caused mischief on many Apollo missions. Some astronauts found their maintenance tasks impossible because their own hands blocked out what they were doing, while others thought they were landing on a steep slope because of the deep shadows that seemed like a cavern.

Lunar Magnetism

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Photo credit: NASA

One of the Moon’s most enduring mysteries is the lack of its magnetic field—which proved to be a real problem when the moon rocks the Astronauts brought back in the 1960s and 1970s were found to be magnetic. Were they of alien origin? How could they be magnetic if the Moon wasn’t? What was going on?

Science has since found out that the Moon actually used to have a magnetic field. The jury is still out on what exactly caused it to vanish, but there are two leading theories. One team of researchers thinks it’s because of the natural stirring movements of the Moon’s iron core, while another posits it may have something to do with a series of impacts with large space rocks. Source: Listverse

50 Things You Never Knew About The Full Moon

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So it’s not just a matter of superstition. According to a police study, thelunar event coincides with an increase in hooliganism. Jonathan Brown andRebecca Bowle shed some light on the celestial phenomenon.

1. The full moon is a lunar phase occurring when the moon is on the oppositeside of the earth from the sun and all three bodies are aligned in astraight line. Viewed from earth, the near side of the moon is fullyilluminated by the sun giving it the familiar circular appearance.

2. It is only during a full moon that the dark side of the moon – thehemisphere on the opposite side to the sun – is completely dark.

3. Lunar eclipses – caused by the passage of the earth’s shadow across theilluminated hemisphere – only occur during a full moon. However, because ofthe angle of tilt of both bodies the moon normally passes either north orsouth of the earth’s shadow.

4. The chances of being bitten by a dog are twice as high during a full moonaccording to a study at Bradford Royal Infirmary, which reviewed 1,621cases of dog bite between 1997 and 1999. However, a study at the Universityof Sydney in Australia concluded there was no identifiable relationshipbetween the state of the moon and dog bites.

5. Gervaise of Tilbury, a 13th-century canon lawyer, was the first to linkthe full moon with the transformation into a werewolf. Writing in his OtiaImperialia he reports cases in the Auvergne, below. The philosopherGottfried Leibniz described the popular work as a “bagful of foolish oldwoman’s tales”.

6. The full moon occurs every 29.5 days – the duration of one complete lunarcycle.

7. The female menstrual cycle has long been linked to the full phase of themoon. One theory is that prehistoric men were more likely to go huntingduring their womenfolk’s period because of taboos associated with blood. Themost profitable time to hunt was during the full moon and the best way toconvince the men to return with food was with the prospect of sex.

8. Neo-pagans, including followers of Wicca, hold a monthly ritual basedaround the full moon called an Esbat. The term has been linked to thewritings of the controversial anthropologist Margaret Murray.

 9. The second full moon occurring within a calendar month is called a BlueMoon. The latest was seen on 31st May 2007. Far from being a rare event thisphenomenon occurs once every three years on average.

10. “Blue Moon”, which was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in1934, became a standard ballad and was recorded by singers such as FrankSinatra and Bob Dylan. The most famous version was recorded by the doo-wappband the Marcels, in 1961, selling more than one million copies.

11. The world’s tidal ranges are at their maximum during the full moon whenthe sun, earth and moon are in line. Sailors know the effect as the springtide – a reference to the leap in the water level rather than the season ofthe year.

 12. The only month that can occur without a full moon is February.

 13. Farmers refer to the harvest moon, the full moon closest to the autumnalequinox, which occurs in September. It is also called the elk calling moonor the wine moon.

14. A full Moon is considered unlucky if it occurs on a Sunday but lucky onMonday or moon day

15. According to superstition a male child is more likely to be conceived atfull moon.

16. In October 1939 in Springfield, Missouri, the full moon appeared to fallfrom the sky. The event was reported in the local newspaper but was laterrevealed to be a plunging weather balloon.

17. The Gregorian calendar dates Easter as the first Sunday after theecclesiastical full moon – the first to occur after the vernal equinox. Itis also known as the egg moon.

18. The Chinese Lantern Festival, dating back to the Han dynasty, is stagedon the 15th day of the 1st lunar month after the new year. Chinesecommunities celebrate across the world by lighting lanterns and feasting onglutinous rice.

19. The Lunar Society, which included Erasmus Darwin, James Watt and JosiahWedgewood, took its name from the practice of holding monthly meetings onthe Monday nearest to the full moon. Members referred to themselves as theLunatics.

20. A three-month psychological study of 1,200 inmates at Armley jail inLeeds in 1998 showed a rise in violent incidents in the days either side ofa full moon.

21. Scientists have long battled to explain the “moon illusion” – wherebythe full moon appears to be larger the closer it is to the horizon. Thephenomenon is understood to be caused by human perception rather than themagnifying effect of the earth’s atmosphere.

22. Timber harvests in South America and South-east Asia are avoided duringthe full moon because it causes the sap to rise in trees, which in turnattracts deathwatch beetles which can devastate crops.

23. Thousands of revellers gather each month on the beach at Koh Phangan inThailand, to celebrate the full moon and dance the night away.

24. The Native American Algonquin tribes in New England give each full moonof the year a name such as the beaver moon, the sturgeon moon and thestrawberry moon.

25. There really is a Man In the Moon. Some of US geologist Eugene Shoemaker’s remains have been blasted into the Moon as a guesture of pride and goodwill by NASA

26. The full moon may appear round, but is actually shaped like an egg withthe pointed end facing earth.

27. The dark spots on the full moon that create the nursery-rhyme man in themoon image are actually basins filled up to five miles deep with basalt, adense mineral. Other facial features are actually “seas” of frozen lava andsharp, rugged mountains.

28. In China, the dark shadows forming the man in the full moon are seen asa toad. The toad is considered one of the five poisons of yin. It isbelieved that eclipses occur when the toad in the full moon tries to swallowthe moon itself.

29. The Moonlight Sonata, by Ludwig von Beethoven, is probably the mostwidely recognised classical work associated with the full moon. The namecomes not from the composer but from a critic who compared the piece to theeffect of moonlight on Lake Lucerne.

30. The Innuit of Greenland believe the full moon is a hungry god, Anningan,who is intent on eating his sister, the Sun Goddess, Malina. Theircat-and-mouse sibling chase follows the cycle of the day, with Malina risingas Anningan sets and the cycle of the moon, with the chase waning when themoon is full.

31. The RAF used the moon to launch its first successful attack on a Germancity when planes attacked Lubeck in 1942.

32. Wesak, the most important of the Buddhist festivals, is celebrated onthe full moon in May. It celebrates the Buddha’s birthday and, for someBuddhists, marks his birth and death.

33. The full moon is the brightest object in the night sky. It has anapparent magnitude of -12.6 compared with the Sun’s of -26.8.

34. The Slovakian psychiatrist Eugen Jonas created a method of birth controland fertility based on the full moon.

35. An analysis of the birthdays of 4,256 babies born in a clinic in Francefound no relationship between the full moon and fertility.

36. A study by Tübingen University, Germany, claimed that police reports for50 new and full moon cycles showed that the moon is responsible for bingedrinking.

37. A telescopic drawing of the full moon by the English mathematicianThomas Harriot, from early August 1609, is the first on record and precededthe Italian physicist Galileo’s study by several months.

38. Renaissance artists traditionally depicted the moon as a crescent ratherthan in its full phase.

39. The full moon is said to be at perigee when it is full at the samemoment its orbit brings it closest to the earth. The moon appearsimperceptibly brighter at this time.

40. The Great Moon Hoax of 1835, was perpetrated by Richard Adams Locke forthe New York Sun. His story claimed that the eminent scientist Sir JohnHershel had spotted furry winged men resembling bats on the surface of afull moon.

41. The full moon is at its highest altitude from the Earth during thewinter seaaon.

42. Some insomnia sufferers claim to sleep worse during a full moon;although others say they sleep more soundly.

43. It is a common misperception that the first Apollo landing occurredduring a full moon. This did not occur until more than a week later.

44. The moon is 10 times brighter when it is full than when it is in aquarter phase.

45. Pagans believe the most mystical time at Stonehenge is when the fullmoon wanes leaving the earth to be reunited with her lover, the sun at dawn.

46. The honeymoon is named after the full moon in June. As it fell betweenthe planting and harvesting of crops this was traditionally the best monthto get married.

47. The oldest lunar calendar, showing the full moon was discovered in cavesat Lascaux in France. It dates back 15,000 years and marks the phases of themoon, with a series of dots depicting the days in the cycle.

48. In 2001, the first test match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe had to bepostponed by one day due to new Siri Lankan government rule, which bansplaying sport on a full moon.

49. The Californian grunion only spawns on the three or four nights afterthe highest tide associated with each full moon. The fish come ashore to laytheir eggs.

50. In a study of 1,000 tonsillectomy operations, 82 per cent ofpost-operative bleeding crises occurred nearer the full moon than the newmoon, according to the Journal of the Florida Medical Association.

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