Our Moon

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The moon is not a planet because, by definition, a planet is a "spherical ball of rock or gas that orbits a star," according to About.com. While the moon is a spherical ball of rock, it orbits the Earth and not the sun.

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  • What is the temperature on the dark side of the Moon?

    Q: What is the temperature on the dark side of the Moon?

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    Temperatures on the dark side of the moon average around negative 280 degrees Fahrenheit. This is do in part to the moon's lack of an atmosphere; there is no insulation to hold heat (on the far side) or soften the sun's rays (on the sun facing side).

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  • What color is the moon?

    Q: What color is the moon?

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    The surface of the moon is generally a light gray color, although there are parts of the moon that are made up of dark gray rocks. The moon has a different appearance from the surface, from space and from the Earth.

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  • What happens during a lunar eclipse?

    Q: What happens during a lunar eclipse?

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    A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth passes between the moon and the sun. Lunar eclipses cast a shadow on the moon due to the Earth's location. From the perspective of the moon, the Earth completely blocks the sun.

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  • How long is a moon day?

    Q: How long is a moon day?

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    According to NASA, one moon day is equal to 27 Earth days, which is the time the moon takes to complete its spin. The moon is tidally locked, so it always shows the same face to the Earth.

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  • What is the difference between a new moon and a full moon?

    Q: What is the difference between a new moon and a full moon?

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    When the moon is full, the moon is at its brightest, and the entire disk is visible. New moons occur when the Earth comes between the moon and the sun, resulting in a moon that is completely obscured by the Earth's shadow and is barely visible in the night sky.

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  • What is the meaning of a yellow moon?

    Q: What is the meaning of a yellow moon?

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    When the moon appears orange or yellow, it simply means that the observer is looking at it through more layers of atmosphere. Similar to the way in which the sun will look orange or red on the horizon, when the moon is low in the sky, the light from it will have to pass through more of the blue-absorbing atmosphere to reach the viewer's eye. By this time, only yellow, orange and red light will remain unabsorbed.

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  • Do more 911 calls happen during a full moon?

    Q: Do more 911 calls happen during a full moon?

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    Police officers and emergency room workers may provide anecdotal proof that 911 calls increase during a full moon, but there isn't any hard evidence to back up this assertion. Though many people assume that there is a connection between the full moon and crazy behavior, scientific research does not support this assumption.

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  • Do full moons really make us crazy?

    Q: Do full moons really make us crazy?

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    Humans have long believed that there is a connection between a full moon and erratic behavior, but there is no scientific proof that this is the case. Even though no real evidence exists of the moon's crazy-making powers, many continue to believe that the two things are connected. This is known as "illusory correlation," in which people imagine that they see a logical connection where there isn't one.

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  • What causes a red moon?

    Q: What causes a red moon?

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    A red moon occurs when the Earth eclipses the moon from sunlight. The moon looks red due to dispersed light from Earth's sunrises and sunsets that is refracted back onto the moon's surface.

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  • How old is the moon?

    Q: How old is the moon?

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    The scientific consensus is that the Earth's moon formed four and half billion years ago. About 100 million years after the formation of the solar system, another small planet is likely to have collided with the Earth, resulting in the formation of the Moon.

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  • Can humans live on the moon?

    Q: Can humans live on the moon?

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    Despite the close relationship between the Earth and its moon as well as successful human visits to the moon, life there is not currently sustainable. The moon doesn't provide enough oxygen for humans to survive. Solar radiation is also a problem, since the moon is outside Earth's protective atmosphere.

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  • How did the moon get its craters?

    Q: How did the moon get its craters?

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    The moon's circular craters are the result of flying objects such as meteorites crashing into the moon's surface. This contact is known as an impact, and the resulting crater is officially known as an impact crater.

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  • What is the weight of the moon?

    Q: What is the weight of the moon?

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    The moon has a mass of 7.35 x 10²² kilograms. It is only about 60 percent as dense as Earth, and as such, the moon's mass is only 1.2 percent of Earth's. Thus, it would take the mass of 81 moons to equal the mass of Earth.

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  • What objects did astronauts leave on the moon?

    Q: What objects did astronauts leave on the moon?

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    Thanks to six moon landings, hundreds of objects are still scattered across the surface of the moon: golf balls, boots, cameras, javelins, sculptures, photographs, and a golden olive branch. Because the moon doesn't have an atmosphere, most of these objects will remain preserved until something impacts that area of the moon.

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  • How bright is the moon compared to the sun?

    Q: How bright is the moon compared to the sun?

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    Just as day is brighter than night, the sun is much brighter than the moon — 400,000 times brighter, to be exact. That's compared to even the fullest, brightest full moon. From an astronomical standpoint, this is no surprise. The moon doesn't generate its own light, and the burning sun provides the vast majority of all the natural light on earth.

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  • How many phases does the moon have?

    Q: How many phases does the moon have?

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    The moon has a total of eight individual phases. Four of these phases are considered to be the moon's main phases. The remaining four phases are considered to be the moon's transitional phases.

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  • What are the phases of the moon?

    Q: What are the phases of the moon?

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    The phases of the moon are: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full, waning gibbous, third quarter and waning crescent. After the waning-crescent phase the moon returns to the new-moon phase and the cycle starts again. The complete cycle takes a little over 29 days.

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  • Is the moon moving farther away from Earth?

    Q: Is the moon moving farther away from Earth?

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    The moon is in fact gradually drifting away from the earth. Each year, the moon spins almost 4 centimeters farther from the earth, which makes the earth's day just a bit longer. While this 1.48-inch movement will eventually add up to a big change, it will take billions of years to make a significant difference to life on earth.

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  • How much did the Apollo program cost?

    Q: How much did the Apollo program cost?

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    Space travel requires a lot of research and preparation, and by the time the Apollo program wrapped up in the 1970s, its total cost was about $30 billion, which would be well more than $100 billion dollars in 2015 money. This total cost reflects work that took place over several years.

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  • What is bigger: the Earth or the Moon?

    Q: What is bigger: the Earth or the Moon?

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    The Earth is much bigger than the moon. While the Earth is measured at 8,000 miles in diameter, the Moon only measures 2,160 miles in diameter. This means that if the Earth was hollowed out, the Moon could fit inside it 50 times.

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  • Why did we go to the moon?

    Q: Why did we go to the moon?

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    One of the main reasons the United States sponsored a mission to the moon was because of the space race with Russia. Russia was the first country to put an artificial satellite in space, which caused a lot of embarrassment for the U.S.

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